Skip to main content

Full text of "The staff method"

See other formats











'("■' M ' I \ 

*y '.> 


s . s , M i T c H E- I.., 

BX 9178 .M5934 S8 
Mitchell, S. S. 1839-1919. 
The staff method 


samuki. S. M itch i:i>i>, D. D. 

tCbe Presbyterian ipulpit 


The Staff Method 



Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, N. Y. 




Copyright, 1904, by the Trustees of 
The Presbyterian Board of PubUcation and Sabbath-School Work. | 

Published May, iq04 



I. The Staff Method 3 

II. The Divine-Human Face 25 

III. The Skepticism of Prominent People . 47 

IV. Jesus' Royal Grant 69 

V. The Biblical Species 87 

VI. Spiritual Novelties iii 

VII. The Sifting of the Sensuous Life . . .135 

VIII, Two Great Deeps 159 



" The child is not awaked." — 2 Kings iv : 31. 

Doing good by indirection, at arm's length, 
through a substitute, by a check — the impersonal 
staff method is in danger of being overworked in 
our day. 

Notice, I pray you, a familiar type of this imper- 
sonalism upon the lower level, that you may be 
prepared to recognize it upon the higher. When 
the man first commenced business he was accus- 
tomed to see everyone who called. But with the 
growth of his business, and the increase of his 
power and fame, this simple and direct meeting 
with his individual patrons came to an end. Now, 
if you will call at the man's office, unless your 
business is of the first importance and you your- 
self somebody in particular, you will see nothing 
of the head of the firm. First the doorkeeper sifts ; 
then the head clerk sifts; then the junior partner 
sifts ; and only the elect can penetrate to the inner 



sanctum, upon the closed door of which stare 
the letters of the word " Private." Personality has 
vanished from the public office, leaving an imper- 
sonal mechanism in its place. From the inner 
office, three rooms deep from the street, the great 
man sends his staff to do the work that comes 

unto him. 

Time was when the poor woman who brought 
her child in her arms, or the laboring man who 
could only get to the office after six o'clock in the 
evening, was met by the doctor himself, who by a 
personal interest in their cases, and by a personal 
attention to their necessities, did them more good 
than all his medicines. But now practice has 
increased ; fame has come ; a sense of power and 
greatness has waxed strong ; and as a result all 
ordinary cases must be turned over to the assist- 
ant. No doubt there is a necessity compelling 
unto this state of things. Brain-power, heart- 
power, nerve-power,— no man can give without 
limitation these precious and remedial forces to 
those who have need. Let us then lift up no 
voice of criticism or fault-finding. Instead, let 
us quietly take our seat in the outer office 
and wait our turn to see the assistant, and 
then as quietly come away with the assurance 
that we have received all we had a right to 


expect. To be sure, the man himself did not 
see us, but the office did. We had the benefit 
of the staff. 

Now these common pictures to be seen upon 
every side of us are not a bad representation of 
that which has come to be a common occurrence 
in the moral world. When he himself was weak 
and unknown, the man kept his Sunday class in 
the Mission School. But when success came and 
prosperity ; when the man, through development, 
became a power in the community, he withdrew 
from the ranks of the Mission workers, compell- 
ing the drafting in of a new and weaker substi- 
tute. Now the man sends his check regularly 
once a year, but he himself no longer knows the 
way unto the Mission. 

When the woman's time was as plentiful as it 
was cheap, she used some of it in visits of per- 
sonal condolence and sympathy. Now, however, 
since her husband has become wealthy and she 
herself a leader in society, she has given up all 
such personal service. Instead, now she sends a 
bundle of clothing, or some jelly, or a gift of 

Now it may have been something like this 
which happened in the case of Elisha. Suddenl}'-, 
with the departure of Elijah, he had blossomed 


into a full-grown prophet, walking the earth as 
if hand in hand with the Infinite One, and doing 
wonderful works of mercy and of power. With 
this new importance and with the great multiplica- 
tion of his daily cares and duties, it would not be 
strange if the prophet came unto an undue sense 
of the importance of his personality and unto the 
conviction that he could not afford to give his 
personal attention unto every case of need that 
presented itself So when the poor Shunammite 
appeared before him, he cried out : ** Her child is 
sick, her child is sick ; run, Gehazi, with my staff." 
Or he may have thought, as the great physician 
seems sometimes to conclude concerning his 
office, " Everything connected with me, every- 
thing belonging to the great prophet, is full of 
virtue; run, Gehazi, with my staff." But what- 
ever was the feeling or conviction which led to 
its use, the staff method did not prove a success 
in Elisha's case. 

"And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid 
the staff upon the face of the child ; but there was 
neither voice, nor hearing." Immediately the 
prophet's proxy turns back unto his master with 
this announcement of failure : " The child is not 
awaked, the child is not awaked." Oh, Elisha! 
great as thou art, thy staff is not yet sufficient to 


do thy work in the world. Thou thyself also art 

But let us turn from these introductory thoughts 
unto the direct consideration of the subject thus 
brought before us. I indicate two general lines 
for the guidance of your thought : — 

First. The faultiness of the staff method. 

Secondly. The requisitions which evermore 
issue for the presence of the person. 

The first prominent fault of the staff method is 
this : It is a withholding of that which is the 
finest and grandest power of the human life. The 
human mind or spirit possesses a mysterious 
power of reaching the human mind and spirit. 
So evident is this that some, as Sir William 
Thomson, have gone so far as to call this power 
the sixth sense. The living man wields a power 
that his words do not possess and which his 
agent cannot carry with him or exercise. When 
Daniel Webster rose from his seat at the dinner- 
table although frequently he said but little, and 
that little commonplace, the whole company felt 
his power. It was the force of his personality 
which bore them down. Men act upon this 
principle in all secular matters of first importance. 
When a business transaction of great magnitude 
is to be determined, the telegram is not sent, or 


the letter written, or the confidential clerk dis- 
patched, but the man goes himself. Yet not 
always do men so act in the field of moral ser- 
vice. The banker says : " This is to be a busy 
day with me. I wish you would send to the City 
Missionary and have her call upon that poor 
family of whom we were speaking, and tell her 
if she will come to my office on her way I will 
give her a check." The woman says : " Every 
hour of my day is taken up. It will be impos- 
sible for me to make the visit to Mrs. A. that I 
had purposed. I am sorry for this, for I hear the 
poor woman is in great affliction over the loss of 
her husband. Still, I will endeavor to send her 
some articles of clothing, of which I hear she is 
greatly in need." 

So also the inferior life is sent as a substitute, 
as well as the check or the bundle of clothing. 
The man draws out of the charity board or the 
mission when he is in the full bloom of his per- 
sonal power, saying, as he does so, " I must con- 
tent myself, for the future, to work by proxy in 
those needy fields." So men and women send 
the staff to do the Lord's work instead of going 
themselves, and in so doing hold back from moral 
service the finest power that they possess. It is 
in man, what Jesus Christ had been guilty of if 


He had sent to our world a book, or a messenger, 
instead of coming Himself. 

Another fault inhering in the staff method is 
its non-recos"nition of soul life in those who are 
to be served. There is no law more fundamental 
than this — " God has made of one blood all na- 
tions of men for to dwell upon all the face of the 
earth." Or, as Jesus Christ puts it — " One is 
your Master, and all ye are brethren." The igno- 
rant are so many darkened souls ; the hungry are 
human souls in a starving body; the human need 
that cries out for help is the cry of a human spirit. 
Now, the sending of the money-staff or the old- 
clothes-staff is a non-recognition of these souls, 
and by this fact the sending must be adjudged as 
poor and imperfect. I remember very well that 
the giving of money or of anything else is not so 
impulsive, or widespread, or general as to render 
necessary any words to be spoken against it. 
Such words I am not speaking. All that I affirm 
is that the giving of things cannot fill out the 
measure of obligation that we owe to living souls. 
Often what the unfortunates need more than 
money is a new endowment of moral force. They 
need the reestablishment of their self-respect; the 
joy of a new hope; the tonic, the inspiration of a 
new courage, and these necessities cannot be 


passed to them in the shape of a check. Only 
Hfe in personal contact can beget hfe. Only love 
can inspire love. Only souls can breathe new 
life into souls. 

But let us pass to the more important part of 
our subject — the authoritative requisitions that 
evermore issue for the presence, in the field of 
human need, of the person. 

The first of these issues in the name of charity. 
Sweet Charity she is sometimes called, although 
this pet name, it is to be feared, is sometimes given 
her by those who strangely confound the odorless 
character of her serene majesty with the more 
earthly sweetness that diffuses itself throughout 
the Ball which, without any very good authority, 
is dedicated to her name. The requisition here 
issues for the protection, for the defense, of 
charity. Giving, from which personal knowledge 
and personal administration are excluded, is apt 
to do more harm than good. The Charity Or- 
ganization Society of New York, after the inves- 
tigation of thousands of cases, gives out the 
conclusion that, of all applications for aid, less 
than one in sixteen require continuous help, and 
less than one in four needs even temporary aid. 
Many a pauper, it adds, is found upon investiga- 
tion to be without the necessaries of life in the 


public gaze, but privately in full possession of its 
luxuries. The Rev. S. A. Barnett, founder of 
Toynbee Hall, after a wide experience and ob- 
servation, declares that it is well-nigh impossi- 
ble to give to people what they ask for without 
doing them a serious injury. The conclusion, 
therefore, would seem to be inevitable that unless 
we are willing that charity should be turned into 
a failure and farce ; unless we are willing to 
offer her gifts as a premium upon laziness and 
lying ; unless we are ready to convert her heart 
into a trough, into which the swine of hypocrisy 
and dead-beatism shall thrust both feet and 
snout; unless we are willing to have her fair 
form pilloried before the eyes of the community 
as an evil-doer, there must walk with her through 
the field of human need the person who is to give 
unto this need. It is sadly and evermore true 
that many of the world's most necessitous lives, 
those who are struggling against the direst 
poverty, must be hunted out. These persons do 
not parade their necessity, but make the most 
ingenious and pathetic attempts to conceal it. 
Many of them starve, or freeze, or commit suicide 
rather than beg. Take the terrible truth here in 
a single sentence as Henry George has written it 
down : " In the richest city of the world the 


mortuary reports contain a column for deaths by 
starvation." Now, such grim results are possible 
in that city and other cites, not because of the 
lack of human and Christian sympathy, but be- 
cause there is a lack of knowledge, and there is 
this lack of knowledge because so few of the 
liberal and the charitable make any personal in- 
vestigation in the field of human needs. There- 
fore charity sends forth in her own beautiful name 
the requisition for the person of the giver. The 
staff will not answer here. What is wanted is, 
that the kindly, and loving, and giving soul, shall 
itself go unto the discovery of the poverty which 
it is so willing to receive. The result of this 
shall be not only to protect charity from the 
abuses which now discredit her fair fame and 
spoil her usefulness, but will also quicken with 
new enthusiasm her beautiful life. The first 
requisition here issues in the name that is rever- 
enced by all mankind, the name of charity, the 
sweet daughter of God. 

A second requisition for the person of the 
good-doer issues in the name of faith, of faith 
that through all the days of time walks our earth 
as charity's twin sister. That men may see your 
good works, and — what ? Do what ? Rejoice in 
your benefactions ? Come unto comfort and con- 


fidence through your kindness and help ? Lift up 
their praises to crown your head ? No ; not any of 
these things. That ** men . . . may see your good 
works, and glorify your Father which is in 
heaven " ; that men may see your goodness and 
believe in the infinite goodness. This faith-pro- 
ducing power is the crowning glory of human 
beneficence. To teach men God — to lead them 
unto the belief of the divine — this is the finest 
inspiration, and this the richest reward that waits 
for and crowns the serving life. For consider 
that the hungry body that is to-day fed, and the 
naked one that is to-day clothed, will soon pass 
beyond the possibility of these sensations — lie as 
so much dust in a little grave, to be hungry or cold 
no more. The mind that to-day wanders in dark- 
ness will soon break through its unfriendly barriers 
into the eternal light. The heart that aches to- 
day and breaks to-day passes quickly forward 
unto the end of its woe. " There the wicked 
cease from troubling ; and there the weary are at 
rest." The starving mother who, in the year 1 890, 
with her baby in her arms threw herself off the 
Hoboken dock, to-day can look back and say, 
" It was a grim moment for baby and me, that 
splash and clasp of the dark waters — but that was 
all over long ago." No, not in any end bound up 


with the Hfe of this mortal body, not in any mo- 
mentary rehef from sentient suffering can be 
found the highest motive and the enduring re- 
ward of human beneficence. This fact makes the 
giving of self an indispensable condition of true 
Christian service. The man of the world, after 
he has grown enormously rich, writes out his 
check for a Free Library, or a University Pro- 
fessorship, or a magnificent church edifice. But 
this act of his has little power to convince a self- 
ish and unbelieving world. Men will say that this 
is only so much restitution. They will scoff at the 
act as an offered atonement — an attempt, through 
the use of a moiety of selfishly acquired riches, 
to purchase standing here and a place in heaven. 
In the sense of which we are speaking no 
money gift can reach unto the supreme end of 
human service, for it does not certify the exist- 
ence of disinterested love. As James Russell 
Lowell has strongly said, the only conclusive evi- 
dence of a man's sincerity is that he gives him- 
self. Words, money, all things else, are easily 
given. But when a man makes a gift of himself 
it is plain to all that the truth has taken posses- 
sion of him. When Governor Washburne, of 
Massachusetts, found time in, or took time from, 
his official duties weekly to visit the sick and the 


poor of his native village, kindly to speak to and 
to pray with them, he thus brought the Divine 
love into the sphere of their vision — he thus led 
them in the direction of faith by the sweet per- 
suasion of a Power which human nature is unable 
to resist. 

We may as well recognize the fact, my fellow- 
men, that a new day in the history of the world is 
upon us. Do you say it is a very restless, selfish, 
lawless, devilish day ? Yes, no doubt it is some- 
thing of all of these. Nevertheless it is with us this 
day and we are in it — a day when the unfortunate 
and the poor and the suffering can no longer be 
persuaded nor charmed unto patience and content- 
ment by the promise of a future heaven. The 
poor and the ignorant, the anarchistic and malig- 
nant, lift up their voice, and this voice is the roar 
of the wild beast, crying out, ** We demand a 
portion of this world also." Now it is a vain 
attempt to pacify the hunger of this fierce cry by 
feeding out to it loaves of bread in the fashion of 
ancient Rome, or bundles of secondhand cloth- 
ing, or even the checks of rich men. These will 
be received, but while they are being used the 
givers will be cursed with curses deep and bitter. 
There is no God in this form of beneficence, no 
God for those who need Him most. There is not 


the demonstration of disinterested love within it. 
No, the staff of indirection, of arm's-length ser- 
vice, of proxy virtue meets not, serves not, the 
great need of our day. The wild, restless, bitter 
unbelief of this day calls for personal contact — 
for the life and the hope which can be begotten in 
the hearts of the embittered and despairing by 
the breeding of personal interest and personal 
service — by that personal presence in earth's 
desolate field which shall illuminate the truth 
that the served and the servants are brothers, 
the children of a Father who is in heaven. 
The second requisition issues in the name 
of the lost faith which is humanity's supremest 

A third requisition here issues in the name 
of the spiritual necessity of the giving life. Upon 
every side of us hundreds of human bodies are 
suffering from the lack of exercise. So hundreds 
of souls in the Christian communion are suffering 
from the lack of that personal effort which is the 
soul's best exercise. They hire the minister ; they 
hire the missionary ; they hire the charity agent ; 
they send a substitute for the Sunday-school, and 
so attempt to take all their spiritual exercise by 
proxy. The result of this is seen upon every side 
of us, in an uninterested and uninfluential Chris- 


tian profession. How comparatively few of its 
members retain a lively concern in the affairs 
and the work of the church ! How few of them 
are as strong in faith and as zealous of good 
works and as well-informed concerning the mis- 
sionary work of the church as they were in the 
first years of their Christian life ! One cause 
of this anaemia and lassitude, it cannot be doubted, 
is to be found in their attempt to take their spirit- 
ual exercise through the minister, through the 
missionary, through the agent, and through the 
check book. This proxy method empties the 
heart of its interest, and so leaves the life an 
easy prey for capture by the world. Now, per- 
sonal work in the moral field would prevent all 
this. It would, first of all, widen the horizon 
of the individual life, so ennobling it. It is 
nothing less than a measureless pity that a wo- 
man who has been in discipleship to the Son of God 
for ten, twenty, forty years should to-day have 
nothing to talk about save her personal ailments 
and the trouble she has with her domestics. It is a 
great shame that a man who for one or two score 
years has been a confessed follower of Jesus Christ 
— of that Christ all of whose thoughts and words 
were world-wide — should to-day have his conver- 
sation and his interest bounded by his shop. Per' 


sonal effort in the service of human need will 
prevent this narrowing and shallowing — this dwarf- 
ing of the human life. It will lead the individual 
up into an exceeding high mountain, from which he 
shall see that which is the only truly great entity of 
time, and, it may be, of the created universe, the 
flashing and the sweep and the roar of the great sea 
of humanity. It will introduce him to a brother- 
hood in the presence of whose pitiful need and 
tremendous interests the little ego shall cease 
from its tiny self-consciousness. It will widen the 
horizon of daily thought ; inspire with nobler 
sympathies ; dignify with higher purposes ; and 
so insure the individual development of the 
worthier kind — prove the liberal education of the 
spirit. This is a University Extension course 
within the reach of the humblest human life. 
The third requisition issues in the name of in- 
dividual need. 

The fourth requisition issues in the name 
of the personal God and of the personal Jesus, 
God's manifestation in human form. The di- 
vine knowledge of all the creatures of His 
hand is individual. When the Creator looks 
over the heavens, the work of His hands, He 
does not say, " Behold a field of flying worlds " ; 
rather these are His words : " Lift up your eyes 


on high, and behold who hath created these things, 
that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth 
them all by names ... for that He is strong 
in power; not one faileth." And not other- 
wise is it in the field, the vast field, of human 
life. We speak of classes and masses. The di- 
vine knowledge makes use of no such raw and 
clumsy phrases. The Infinite Father knows the 
swarming millions of humanity as His individual 
children. He calls them by their name. He 
numbers the hairs of their heads. He has a 
bottle of remembrance for each one of their tears. 
He does not simply say, " Behold two sparrows !" 
but this rather, — one sparrow that shall fly and 
one that shall fall. God manifest in the flesh, 
behold how truly, how beautifully personal He 
was in all His relations with the human life — how 
He talked and blessed and saved by personal con- 
tact. The poor blind beggar's cry even He will 
not answer by proxy or indirection. Not to any 
one of his nearest attendants will He say, ** Go 
and see what it is that that beggar wants." Nay, 
but He stops ; He Himself responds to the pitiful 
cry ; with His own voice He asks, " What wilt 
thou ?" Then listen to Him as He talks with 
Peter. How well He knows the eccentric dis- 
ciple! How personal is His service of that dis- 


ciple's need ! Behold Him as He receives the 
head of the loving John upon His bosom. How 
true, how tender, His personal relations with this 
individual man ! 

Now, shall any one essay to honor or to con- 
tinue this personal ministration of the Divine 
Lord through and by means of impersonal ser- 
vice, by the staff method ? Will you hire a sub- 
stitute and send this substitute to take your 
place by the side of such a Leader ? Will you 
send a check as your only response, as your 
recognition of this example of personal service 
and personal love ? Oh ! if you do, it will be a 
shame unto you — a shame that shall one day flush 
your cheek with an intolerable burning. Oh, yes ! 
hire a substitute for the day when the life of your 
fatherland hangs in the balance of the bloody 
battle ; bid a servant answer the letter that has 
come from your lover; send a check unto the 
sorrow and loneliness of your mother; but do not 
think of putting off the Christ, who loved you and 
gave Himself for you, with any form of response 
that does not include your loyal, loving, personal 

In the direction of this personal service lies, 
believe me, your finest earthly opportunity ; your 
superior joy, and your richest reward. Oh, ye 


self-complacent men of bank, of office, and of 
store ; ye children also of ease, of fashion, and of 
wealth, who vainly imagine that ye are dealing 
with the great things of this world, while ye turn 
over your Christ and your human brother to the 
substitute and to the machine, brush the scales 
from your eyes, unlearn your delusion before the 
sun of your earthly opportunity goes down in the 
night in which no man can work ! Oh, ye helpers, 
ye teachers, ye missionaries, ye who are dealing 
with souls, and sometimes discouraged with a 
humility that disparages your work, this day also 
do ye repent of your unworthy shame and take 
unto your hearts the assurance that the mightiest 
issues of earth are those which ye are daily hand- 
ling — that the highest form of man's earthly life is 
that which is disclosed in the personal service of 
the needy human soul ! 

" And Gehazi came back to his master, saying, 
The child is not awaked. Master, the child is not 

My fellow-men, the dead child before us is the 
heart's lost faith, the world's lost hope. And this 
machinery cannot give back. This the staff in 
the hand of a servant cannot quicken. This 
neither the written check nor the proxy hand can 
re-bestow. This lies dead until life is breathed 


into it by the living and loving spirit of the serving 
brother life. 

My Christian friend, permit me to give you a 
personal introduction to your human brother who 
has need of you. Send him not your proxy, not 
the agent, not the check, but go yourself So you 
will fill out the sweetest and the noblest obligation 
resting upon your earthly life. The love of your 
Father who is in heaven, and the need of your 
fellow-man who is on the earth — these two, 
through all the weary centuries of time, blend 
their deepest significance and their truest pathos 
in the words of this one voice : We seek not yours ^ 
but you. 




" The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." — 2 CoR. iv : 6. 

Glory is excellence in manifestation. The 
glory of the sun is in his out-streaming rays. 
The glory of nature is the beauty of the earth 
shown in mountain and valley, in lake and river, 
in forest and prairie. It is the gold of the flaming 
sunset ; it is the silver gleam of the glancing 
river ; it is the spotless ermine of the everlasting 

So the glory of God is the divine excellence 

streaming forth in rays of moral splendor. The 

heavens declare the glory of God ; and in the 

text it is declared that this glory shines in the face 

of Jesus Christ. Just as we might say the glory 

of day is in the face of the sun, the glory of night 

outrays from moon and star, so the Apostle, 

enlightened by the Divine Spirit, looks upon the 

face of Jesus of Nazareth and cries : *' Behold the 



glory of God ! Behold the manifestation of the 
Divine Excellence ! " 

The face of a man differs from every other part 
of the body in its superior power to express the 
life which is within the man. I say superior 
power, for every portion of the body possesses 
this attribute in a greater or less degree. Put the 
same garment successively on two different per- 
sons, and you will get widely different results. 
The form, the carriage, the characteristics of the 
body will strike through this covering. Leanness 
and fleshiness, grace and awkwardness, energy 
and languor, the stooping body and the erect 
form, will be clearly seen through the garments 
that shape themselves to the form which they 
enrobe. So human bodies disclose their individ- 
uality despite the art of costumer and tailor. 

Now going a little deeper into these concentric 
layers that we call a human life, we come unto 
the body which the spirit wears for its vesture, 
even as the body wears the garments of which we 
have spoken ; and no more than the outer does 
this inner conceal the life which it covers. 

Look at the Frenchman's shoulders ! His 
inner life bubbles up through them, even as the 
life of the boiling kettle bubbles up through the 
palpitating lid. Then there are the foot, the wrist, 


the neck, the contour and pose of the head, all of 
them voiceful of the inner life. Naturalists are 
able, from a single tibia, to construct the whole 
animal frame. Give them this one bone, and, 
upon it and round it, they will build up the body 
to which it belonged — to which it must have 
belonged. So might the anthropologist well- 
nigh construct the human mammal from the wrist 
bone or the cervical anatomy, — so instinct with 
individuality, so voiceful of the inner life, is every 
part of the body. 

But none of them is so much so as the face. 
When you would surely know whether a man is 
angry you do not look upon his back, or his 
hands, or his feet, but you look into his face. 
This is where the anger flashes out ; this is the 
glass that is discolored by the vile breath of the 
soul ; this is the shining disk over which moves 
the dark shadow of the eclipse ; this is the limpid 
fountain that is muddied with passion's precipitate. 

So also with joy. This too leaps from the 
heart into the face illuminating all its features. 
So also with sorrow. What a difference there 
is between the face of a sad, and the face of a 
joyous spirit ! What two unlike pictures of a 
soul are given us in the faces of a crying and a 
laughing child ! And states of the heart more 


permanent than the emotions find their expres- 
sions also in the face. Anxiety etches itself into 
the features ; purity and impurity, benevolence and 
scorn, humility and pride, peace and unrest grow 
into engraver's lines upon its surface. So the 
face changes with the changes that go on within 
— now hardening, now softening, now laughing, 
now crying as the April day. If only we had the 
right kind of a microscope we might read in the 
face the whole history of the life — spelling out 
such words as these : success, failure, gentleness, 
scorn, sorrow, joy, peace, unrest, hope, fear — the 
very life of the soul. Hence, when we would 
begin the study of a man, if we have the oppor- 
tunity, we always turn our eyes upon his face. 

So let us at this time study the face that Jesus 
Christ turned upon this world, the face in which 
shone the glory of God. This let us do in order 
that we, coming to know what is the true glory 
of rational life, may be changed into the same 
image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, or if 
not so much as this, yet at least that we may be 
made ashamed of some of the faces that we have 
turned upon the world, and which now, alas for 
us, are hung up in the gallery of the universe — in 
the rogue's gallery, some of them. 

At the time in which Jesus lived, the publicans 


were so many outcasts, political and social. In 
addition to being tax-collectors, they were the 
collectors of the taxes that the Roman Govern- 
ment had imposed. So they were doubly odious 
— odious because they were always raking in the 
money, and abominably odious because they col- 
lected this money for a foreign and a hated power; 
and being reckoned a degraded class, they 
became degraded. For it is hard, as Robertson 
has well said, for any man to live above the moral 
standard assigned to him by the community. 
The first step downward is to sink in the estima- 
tion of others ; the next and fatal step is to sink 
in one's own estimation. The value of reputation 
is, that it pledges a man to be what he is taken 
for. It is indeed a fearful thing for a man to have 
no character to support — nothing to fall back 
upon in the hour of fierce assault, nothing to keep 
him up to himself in the day when the deadly 
simoom of temptation blows across his life. 

Now the publicans had no character. They 
were outcasts from Jewish society, looked upon 
as vile and degraded by the community in which 
they lived. The religious classes, especially the 
Pharisees, particularly detested and avoided them. 
Well, one day after Jesus had begun His walks 
among men, it happened that His path led Him 


in the direction of one of these pubhcans who 
was sitting at the receipt of custom, engaged in 
his nefarious work of raking in the taxes. 

The meeting is inevitable. Jesus and the pub- 
Hcan must see each other. What shall be the 
nature of this congress, what the result ? With 
what glance will Jesus regard, what face will He 
turn upon the publican ? The moment is a 
critical one, pent with an influence which shall 
tell upon all the ages, for the new man, the Lord 
from heaven, is walking toward the barrier set up 
by human society. What shall be the issue? 
Will He stop before reaching it — cowardly re- 
versing His course? Will He gently and deftly 
curve His pathway round it, as not many genera- 
tions ago some teachers of religion were accus- 
tomed to get round the slave pen and the human 
auction block ? Or will He break through it ? 
The moment is critical. Humanity's second 
Head, the new man from heaven, is walking 
toward the human life which this world has 
stamped " outcast." Will Jesus dare to recognize 
this life ? Will He deign to interest Himself in it 
— to hope for it? With your own eyes and ears 
get the answer to these questions. For look ! 
Jesus continues straight forward. Now He is 
even before the publican. See ! He stops. He 


turns His face upon the publican. He speaks 
and the words that we hear are these : " Come, 
follow me " ; and that same night Jesus accepts 
an invitation to dine at the publican's house. 

Such was the meeting of the new Life of the 
new world with the outcast life of the old world. 
Such was the face that Jesus turned upon the 
man whom both society and the church had 
excommunicated. It was a face of sympathy 
and hope, of sympathy with and hope for a pub- 

Such then, my fellow-men, is the glory of 
God. What, do you ask ? Interest in a human 
life though the world treats it as refuse. To see 
manhood and divinity and hope in an outcast of 
earth. To lift up into companionship with Him- 
self a social pariah — this is the glory of God, 
this is the outraying excellence of Deity, this is 
the outstreaming splendor of infinite Being, for 
this is that which shone in the face that Jesus 
turned that day upon the man who was a 

Take another incident — look upon another of 
the faces which Jesus turned upon this world. 
One day, during the press of His public duties, 
among those who sought the presence of Jesus 
were a number of parents who brought their 


children with them, that the Saviour might place 
His hands, in blessing, upon the heads of the 
little ones. The disciples of the Lord, imagining 
themselves to have their Master in charge, and 
not wilHng that His time should be taken up with 
such petty cares, rebuked the solicitous parents. 
*' For shame," they cried, " do you not see that 
the Master's time is all required for duties of the 
largest and most important character? How 
then can you be so thoughtless as thus to intrude 
upon Him? Would you have Jesus waste His 
time upon children ?" 

Jesus, listening, hears these words of His dis- 
ciples, and at once breaks in upon them with 
this voice : " Suffer the little children to come 
unto me, and forbid them not." Then turning to 
the little ones, and reaching forth His arms He 
cries, "Come," and as they run unto Him, He 
takes them up in His arms, puts His hands upon 
them and blesses them. 

My hearers, the picture is not dim unto this 
day nor is its central figure indistinct. Across the 
field of nineteen centuries, see it — Jesus holding a 
little child in His arms. Some of us have known 
hours when, with tear-filled eyes, we could see 
nothing else save this picture — the Saviour lifting 
up the little one from our arms unto His. Again, 


to-day, I would have you look upon it — for it is 

Behold that face which Jesus turns upon the 
child within His arms ! See you the light that 
is in it? That is the glory of God in the face 
of Jesus Christ. 

Let me ask you, Who is your God ? What is 
He ? The Being whose glory fills the heavens 
above, whose majestic splendor is reflected from 
those myriad suns, which along the paths of the 
infinite field lead forth their glorious train ? Think 
you of Him only as the mighty One, who upon 
that far distant and shadowy throne executes the 
purpose of an infinite will — electing unto life, re- 
probating unto death, stretching out over im- 
mensity the scepter of an unchangeable and 
omnipotent decree ? The glory of God in your 
eyes, is it only the resplendent shining of that 
august and sovereign throne ? Or a thousandfold 
worse is this phrase — the glory of God — only an 
empty form of words, with which you have been 
accustomed to round out the sentence in the 
stereotyped prayer ? Ah ! I bid you see this 
glory made real before your eyes, brought near 
unto human vision, made plain and simple unto 
human intelligence. The light in Jesus' face as 
He looks upon the little child in His arms — that 



is the glory of God, and neither Orion nor the 
Pleiades shows forth this glory better. 

Cast your eyes over the world. Wherever you 
see a human face beaming in gentleness and love 
upon a little child — there is the glory of God 
before your very eyes. Wherever you see a 
human face scowling upon the child life, though 
this face belongs to one who has been years here 
praying that he might live to the glory of God, be 
sure that this prayer has been of words only and 
that it is yet unheard in the realms above. 

But pass to another incident, to look upon 
another face which Jesus turned upon this world 
in which we live. 

A certain Pharisee besought the Saviour to 
dine with him, and Jesus went in and sat down to 
meat. And when the Pharisee saw it he mar- 
veled that Jesus had not first washed before 
dinner. And this was the face that Jesus turned 
upon him : '* Woe unto you, Pharisees ! for ye 
tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and 
pass over judgment and the love of God." " Woe 
unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye 
make clean the outside of the cup and of the 
platter, but within they are full of extortion and 
excess. . . . Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, 
how can ye escape the damnation of hell ? " 


Such was the terrible face that Jesus turned 
upon Phariseeism ; and this is still before the 
world and for our observation and study to-day. 

The best that can be said of the God who is set 
forth by many religious teachers of our day is 
that He is a goodish old Father who loves all the 
children of men. He would, it is true, prefer that 
these children should obey Him ; but, if not, He 
will make all necessary allowances, putting up 
with whatever of recognition and loyalty they are 
willing to bestow upon Him. Now, concerning 
this sentimental Deity, this must be said first of 
all. He is despicable even in the eyes of those 
who have made Him. The Jove of the mythical 
world was the thunderer; his hands were filled 
with flaming bolts. He stood for strength, for 
power, for grandeur of being. His name was 
coherence for his mighty realm, and the roll of 
his chariot wheels was the glory of his kingdom. 
Mythology at least made its god respectable in 
the eyes of his subjects. But the dilettantism of 
some modern pulpits paints the great Jehovah as 
an enthroned emotion, a doting old Father, a 
King — if He can be called a King — who if placed 
upon an earthly throne would nauseate His realm 
and vex it with innumerable ills. 

I tell you, my fellow-men, this old and wicked 


world, these vast cities upon its surface, raging 
with iniquity and as impure as hell, demand a God 
of justice and of strength, an actual ruler to sit 
upon the throne of the heavens. Every virtuous 
mind, too, craves such a God. Judgment and 
justice, let these be the habitation of His throne ; 
terrible things in righteousness, let these be the 
thunders of His mighty realm. So prays every 
pure and noble spirit. 

Again, it must be said of this God of the 
modern amenities that He is not the One whose 
glory shines in the face upon which we have just 
looked. " Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, 
how can ye escape the damnation of hell ? " It is 
the glory of the true God, that when there is need 
He can shoot such thunderbolts as these. Against 
Phariseeism and hypocrisy, and all falsehood, all 
sham and cant, and lying formality, the glory of 
God (oh ! let the earth give thanks) shows as a 
consuming fire. This face of Jesus Christ, I 
beseech you, look well upon it. Its indignation 
leaps forth as the lightning from the livid cloud ! 
Its words are the thunders of eternal righteous- 
ness, reverberating over the head of defiant and 
shameless sin ! All this that you see and feel 
— all this splendor of terribleness — is the glory 


of God raying forth upon the world, the glory 
of God focused in a human face. 

Yet once again I would have you look 
upon the face of Jesus as it is turned upon our 
world. A poor guilty woman — guilty as only 
woman can be — lies crouching in the dust at the 
Saviour's feet. Friend she has none ; hope she 
has none. The angry crowd surges up to the 
prostrate form, panting, ravenous for blood. Jesus 
is silent. We cannot even see His face this 
moment, for it is bent upon the ground upon 
which He is writing with His finger. It is the face 
of the new man, the Lord from heaven — what is in 
it ? It is a face which shall never fade from earth's 
vision — what is in it? It is the face in which 
shines the glory of God — what shall we see in it 
when it is raised? Indifference? Disgust? Con- 
tempt? Anger? Wait a moment ! There now, 
Jesus moves ; He lifts his head. Oh, see that 
face ! How different from any face in the im- 
patient and ravening crowd ! How different from 
any face which the world had ever seen before ! 
What tenderness is in it ! What love ! What 
serene calmness ! What courage for pity and for- 
giveness ! Then, while we look, this face melts 
into speech, and these are its words, " Neither do 
I condemn thee : go, and sin no more." This 


the glory of God ? Why, then, those holy 
Pharisees had not known God ! This the glory 
of God ? Why, then, there are self-styled wor- 
shipers of God upon every side of us who do 
not know Him. This the glory of God ? Then 
what must be said of many circles of earth's good 
society ? Why, that their glory is the glory, not 
of God, but of devils ! 

But look once more, and upon another face 
which Jesus turned upon our world. For long 
hours now He has been exposed to taunt and 
ridicule. He has been buffeted, smitten in the 
face, spit upon, and crowned in mockery with 
thorns. And now the culmination has come. 
Wicked hands have lifted Him to the Cross and 
nailed Him there, and, their horrid task accom- 
plished. His executioners now sit down at the foot 
of the Cross to divide His raiment among them. 
It is at this juncture that Jesus turns His eyes 
upon them. Behold this face, and scan it well ! 
for here again you shall behold the glory of God. 
Remember, it is a face which out of its own mortal 
agony looks down upon His executioners. What 
is in the face ? Revenge ? Wrath ? Flaming 
indignation? Let it speak its own meaning; 
" Father, forgive them ; for they know not what 
tliey do." 


The mad tragedy reels onward. Jesus has now 
been for hours upon the Cross. The derisive 
shout no longer falls upon His ears. The angry- 
crowd is tired, satiated. Jesus is dying; Jesus is 
dying. But, as we stand waiting for the end, a 
piteous entreaty falls upon our ears. It comes 
not from the throng before the Cross, but from 
one of the three crosses. It is from a dying thief, 
who but a short time since had joined in the gen- 
eral reviling. Listen to his pitiful words : " Lord, 
remember me when Thou comest into Thy king- 
dom." Jesus turns His eyes, rays of the divine 
glory stream through His face and fall upon the 
dying malefactor in this response : " To day shalt 
thou be with Me in Paradise." 

What is the lesson from it all ? Interest in man 
as man apart from and independent of all external 
circumstances — this is the glory of God. Interest 
in and love for little children — this is the glory of 
God. Burning wrath flaming out against all 
hypocrisy — this is the glory of God. Pity and 
forgiveness for the vilest outcast who will go and 
sin no more — this is the glory of God. Mercy 
and pardon ready to flow unto a dying criminal — 
this is the glory of God. Look well, I pray you, 
upon the faces ; live with them looking down 
upon you — read the glory and learn your God. 


Only two or three brief inferences : — 
First, the glory of God as it shines in the face 
of Jesus Christ is excellence that approves itself 
unto the human consciousness and which lies in 
the path of human development. We are made 
in the divine image, and there is not a face that 
Jesus turned upon the world but we can easily 
conceive of as belonging to a perfect man. Oh, 
yes, it is true ! He is the model man. He is the 
perfect man, He is the divine man, and He leads 
in the direction of all true and beautiful develop- 
ment. Type and prophecy is He of the new race 
which, in the regeneration, shall enter into ever- 
lasting possession of the new earth. Aye ! the 
day Cometh — in God's Book it is written — when 
every human face in the beautiful second order 
shall shine with the glory that beamed from the 
face of earth's Redeemer. 

Second, the glory of God which many a 
theological system and many a religious confes- 
sion exalts is only a caricature of the true gloiy. 
Men have shut themselves up in monastic cells 
for the glory of God. They have endured bodily 
torture ; they have drunk the blood of heretics ; 
they have reprobated earth's great majority, and 
they themselves have professed a willingness to 
be damned — and all for the glory of God ! And 


now ? Why proud faces, selfish and hard faces, 
faces which are frowns at home and flints in the 
world ; men who place money above conscience, 
and women who would rather be society's elect 
than heaven's — these all profess communion with 
the Christ, and imagine they are showing forth 
the glory of God ! 

Again, that shining face that we have looked 
upon to-day is the goal which the Christian ought 
to keep continually in view. By it he should test 
his hope, and by it he should measure his prog- 
ress. We deal too much in abstractions. We 
talk too much of a plan of salvation. We lay 
too much stress upon one particular heart emo- 
tion or mental activity that we denominate faith, 
and which on the principle of a quid pro quo is 
in some mysterious way to avail for our future 
welfare. Some Christians lift Jesus up out of 
His own gospel— leaving, only a "plan of salva- 
tion" behind. Some Christians lift up character 
out of religion, leaving only churchmanship in its 
place. My fellow-men, I warn you back this day 
to the concrete. The only plan of salvation is the 
loving, living Saviour, who is Jesus the Christ ; 
and the only evidence that we have part or lot 
in His salvation is found in our growing likeness 
to Him. 


Therefore, I say, keep the face of Jesus daily 
and distinctly before you. Let it be the ever- 
shining goal of your hope and your endeavor. 
But see to it that it is the face of the Jesus of the 
Bible. Theology has pictured this face, but you 
do not want her engraving — cold and hard. 
Sentimentality has painted the face, but you do 
not want her daub. What you need as your 
inspiration, as your beacon light, as your shining 
goal, is the original of the Bible gallery — the face 
which was turned in sympathy and hope upon the 
outcast publican ; which beamed with lov^e upon 
little children ; which beat down in blazing wrath 
upon Phariseeism ; which looked love and spoke 
forgiveness unto the dying thief — the original 
face — this hang up before your life for its daily 
rebuke and measureless inspiration. 

But say you, " My heart is without admiration 
for that face ! " Then woe are you in the universe 
of God, for that face stands for divine beauty, is 
the outraying of that character which alone is 
blessed while eternity lasts. But say you : " It is 
so far above me, I can never reach unto it ; the 
hard lines of my face I can never smooth and 
round into those beautiful features." Ah ! I know 
it. But a power is at hand to supplement your 
weakness — the power of a divine regeneration. 


" For we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a 
mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed 
into the same image, from glory to glory, even 
as from the Lord the Spirit." 

Let us then study the face of Jesus Christ, 
finding the correction of our errors of head, find- 
ing also all needed inspiration for the heart, in the 
daily and diligent contemplation of that human 
face in which shines the true glory of rational 
being — through which God looks out upon us 
and upon our world. 

Now, I beg you, wait just a moment. Before 
you go I desire to hang up these several faces 
of Jesus in the room of your soul. The face 
looking upon the degraded and outcast publican 
I will hang yonder in the vestibule at the very 
entrance. The face of Jesus looking upon the 
little child which He holds in His arms I will 
hang there above the mantel. The face of Jesus 
turned upon Phariseeism I will hang opposite the 
window yonder, in the strongest light of all. The 
face of Jesus looking upon the woman who was 
a sinner shall go in yonder quiet niche, that the 
one who desires to study it may turn aside and 
be alone. The face that Jesus from the cross 
turned upon His executioners — this would better 


rest upon the easel, inviting daily and closest 

Now there is but one face left — the face with 
which Jesus answered the prayer of the dying 
criminal. Carry this, I pray you, in miniature 
locket over your heart, for it is in strongest focus, 
not only the glory, but the glory of the glory of 
that God whose name is Love, and whose love is 
the beautiful Hope of your soul. 





" Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little 
child shall in no wise enter therein." — Luke xviii : 17. 

Yet I think we are in danger of laying es- 
pecial emphasis upon their relation to religion, 
of a mind and spirit in character the opposite, and 
in position the antipodes of the child mind and 
the child spirit. I refer to the importance which 
is so generally attributed to the unbelief or skep- 
ticism of persons prominent in the world, promi- 
nent in letters, or science, or business, or society, 
or politics. Now far be it from me to say that the 
believing soul can remain altogether insensible 
to the assaulting force of skepticism. I will not 
even deny that there is much truth in honest 
doubt, or that from this doubt there has not 
broken forth much light for the service of the 
world. All that I desire at this time to say unto 
you, at the bidding of the text and for the reas- 
surance and comfort of your faith, is this : We 
are in danger of attaching too much importance 



unto, and of laying too strong an emphasis upon, 
the unbehef and irreHgion of the world's promi- 
nent people. 

I. Consider, first, that large knowledge in one 
direction often exists with notorious ignorance 
upon other subjects and along other lines of 
thought. Yonder university has subdivided the 
field of human knowledge into many sections, 
assigning a specialist to each. Generally speak- 
ing, in his own particular branch too, the pro- 
fessor is somewhat of an authority. He is not 
much, however, outside his own specialty. On a 
question of Christian casuistry the opinion of the 
mathematician has no especial value. This is be- 
cause he has not given attention to such matters ; 
because he is not learned in this direction. On a 
vexed question in the field of biology the astron- 
omer, however eminent, would not be taken as 
authority. This is because he has not made bi- 
ology a study, because he has given little or no 
attention to its mighty theories. 

Humbler illustrations of this principle lie all 
about us. There, side by side, are the offices 
of lawyer and doctor. Both of these are now 
called to the bedside of the dying man — the one 
to make his will, the other to prescribe for his 
suffering body. Suppose, now, that these two 


men, through some mistake, were made to change 
places — the doctor being called on to construct the 
legal paper and the lawyer to write out the Latin 
prescription. Do you not see how ignorant and 
how helpless the men would be, and this no 
matter how proficient each of them may be in his 
own calling ? This is because the men are out of 
their spheres. The doctor can easily and confi- 
dently guide unto the condition where wills must 
be made. That is his business. The lawyer can 
take the man from the hand of the physician (not 
his affair to know how he came there) and iron- 
clad his pleasure concerning the estate which he 
is to leave behind him. 

So it is through all the industrial and professional 
callings. Human strength is weakness ; human 
skill is ignorance outside of the narrow range of 
a very small circle. 

In a wider view, the same truth appears. Phi- 
dias was a wonderful sculptor. He could make 
marble speak, but he himself could never have 
spoken the Oration on the Crown. It required 
a Demosthenes to do this. Raphael is a master 
for all time in painting, but Raphael could not 
sing what Dante sang. Mozart and Mendels- 
sohn — we bow to them in music, but we accept 
not their dicta in political economy, or archi- 


lecture, or law. In these matters the opinions 
of Adam Smith, and Christopher Wren, and 
Blackstone are a thousandfold more valuable. 

This principle brought thus clearly into view 
is sadly transgressed when men of literature, 
or science, or public life open their mouths to 
speak upon the laws and verities of the spiritual 
kingdom. Learned in other directions, they may 
be, and often are, but as often are they ignorant 
of religion and of all that pertains to it, and their 
criticisms and conclusions are of no particular 

Suppose that the professor has literally and for 
all his life peered through the microscope; that 
he is an authority, and the highest one, in this 
important subdivision of the kingdom of knowl- 
edge. But what qualification is this for a critic 
or a prophet in the spiritual realm ? None what- 
ever. The famous microscopist makes a fool of 
himself if he opens his mouth authoritatively on 
spiritual matters. The spirit, whether divine or 
human, the Christ, the spores of moral evil, the 
movements of the conscience and the will — these 
never come into view under the eye of the micro- 
scope, however much its power may be magnified. 
The same may be said with reference to all 
these attainments of the human mind that go 


under the name of scientific. Spirit cannot be 
resolved, cannot be analyzed in the crucible of 
the chemist. The human soul cannot be placed 
in a glass jar and its operations watched, as the 
cocoon is scrutinized and the law of the butterfly 
laid down. The laws of moral influence and 
moral inspiration cannot be figured out and 
formulated as are the orbits of the planets. So 
it is very possible for a man to be learned in the 
movements of the heavenly bodies and yet blind 
to the radiant footsteps of their Creator. A pro- 
fessor may know much of light and heat and 
motion, and yet be utterly ignorant of the laws of 
spiritual influence. A man may be able to con- 
struct a profound essay, to sing a beautiful poem ; 
but these, his power and performance, qualify him 
not at all to speak with any especial significance 
upon the subjects of inspiration and prayer and 
faith. We do learning or culture entirely too 
much honor when we grant to them any especial 
authority within the spiritual realm. The simple 
truth is this : it matters little what a mathema- 
tician, or a chemist, or a biologist, or a littcrateiir, 
as such, may think or may say of God and of 
Christ, of sin and of immortality. To use a 
homely phrase — these things are not in their line. 
To them they have given no especial attention, 


and upon them they have no right to speak dic- 

With a question of health I will not go to the 
lawyer; with a question of conscience I will not 
go to the politician ; with a question of taste I 
will not go to the rich parvenu ; and with a ques- 
tion about God, or Christ, or my soul, I will not go 
to the man who is color-blind to the light which 
shines in the face of Jesus Christ, and who has 
never lifted a prayer to the God of heaven. Wise 
he may be in some things, learned along certain 
lines where I am ignorant, but ignorant also is he 
upon larger and grander subjects, concerning 
which I am sure that I know something. 

11. But again and in this same connection I 
consider a second general fact, viz., that the con- 
stituent entities of religion lie quite outside the 
sphere of human discovery and so cannot be 
reached by the process of human reason. 

The truth here I can lift up before you in the 
form of a picture. No doubt the astronomer, 
through the telescope of yonder observatory, can 
see farther into the heavens than can you with 
the unassisted eye. But suppose the problem is 
to discover and tabulate the flora of Sirius. Now 
which is better, your eye or the astronomer's lens ? 
Why, both are equally worthless. You must ex- 


claim, " My eyes cannot reach unto such objects 
through such a distance." And the astronomer 
must reply, " The telescope was not made to dis- 
cover lichens upon the surface of a world so far 
removed." But even this is not a sufficiently 
strong representation of the case. Imagination 
can conceive of a telescope of such wondrous 
power as even to fasten upon these humble 
growths upon the rocks of the distant star. But 
deity, but spirit, but heaven — all the objects of the 
spiritual world — are not so related to the possibil- 
ity of vision. Let therefore the illustration be 
changed. Be the problem to discover a spirit 
upon the far distant shores of the mighty sun. 
Now let the astronomer raise his telescope to the 
skies, and you, your unhelped eyes. Can he see 
farther than you ? But what of this ? Farther ! 
what does this signify when infinity still lies be- 
yond ? Farther ! what an idle world when the 
invisible is to be discovered ! 

Do you not see that as to the end proposed 
you and the astronomer are on a level ? And let 
human learning stand for the telescope, and our 
illustration is transposed into the key of the text. 
In many directions it is granted that the great 
man will see farther than you. Into matter and 
its laws, into heat and light and motion, into the 


strata that make up the crust of the earth, into 
the fauna and flora that are distributed upon its 
surface — in all these directions the vision of the 
learned man will outstrip yours. But let the 
problem be the discovery, the vision of God, of 
spirit, of the post-mortem state, and what shall 
the philosopher do above and beyond you ? Is 
he not, with all his learning, on a level with you 
and your ignorance ? Most surely he is. And 
there is ever so good an explanation of his limi- 
tation. Learning counts for nothing, science 
counts for nothing here, because their methods 
and processes cannot be transferred to the spir- 
itual realm. Induction is an absurdity where 
observation is an impossibility. And this is the 
case in the moral world. " God is the one whom 
no man hath seen nor can see." Why, then, shall 
we allow ourselves to be troubled by the skep- 
ticism of human learning? It has seen noth- 
ing of God which we have not seen. Nay, more. 
It cannot come unto the sight of anything in the 
spiritual realm, the vision of which is forbidden 
to us. 

All the things which are sought here are known 
only as they are revealed to the spirit of a man. 
And have we not spirits ? Can we not go unto 
the Great Spirit ? Must we forsooth have mastered 


a few theories as to the origin and laws of matter ? 
Must we know a few facts about Hght and heat 
and electricity in order that we may be favorably 
introduced to the Father of our souls, in order 
that we may be qualified to receive spiritual im- 
pressions, to respond to the great influence of the 
moral world ? 

The supposition is absurd. As well say that 
we must know Greek, or have made a million of 
dollars, before God will hear us, or before we can 
read His word. I tell you, my fellow-Christians, 
the truth is self-evident. With reference to the 
knowledge that buttresses the religious life, we 
are on a level with the most prominent and the 
most cultured. Revelation is an absolute neces- 
sity to us both. Without this the greatest man 
is left in ignorance, and with it we know easily 
as much as he. 

III. But still farther, and in the same direction, 
I must ask you to consider that the habits of 
intellectual culture often have a strong tendency 
to disqualify for the attainment of spiritual 

Every department of human knowledge has its 
own proper and necessary condition. In the 
sphere of the artist this condition is the love of 
the beautiful, the inborn sense and faculty of taste. 


A mathematician might gaze on the landscape as 
long and as faithfully as the artist, but he would 
not see its beauty. This would be hidden from 
him, because he has not conformed to the condi- 
tion upon which this beauty is revealed. This 
law runs, too, through all the knowledges. The 
poet can never enter into the kingdom of the 
fixed sciences. He is disqualified by his mental 
habits and by the very nature of his being. The 
empirical student can see no beauty in the sweetly 
singing lines of poetry. He would need to be 
reborn in order to hear and feel this melody. 

Now in keeping with this general law and under 
its sway is the spiritual kingdom. The reception 
of its truth also calls for, demands, a certain pre- 
requisite in the life of the learner. This is laid 
down by the highest authority in such words as 
these : — 

" The secret of the Lord is with them that fear 

"To this man will I look, even to him that 
is of a poor and of a contrite spirit." 

" If any man will do His will, he shall know of 
the doctrine." 

" Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall 
see God." 

We see thus what is the condition that obtains 


and governs in the sphere of religious truth. It 
is, as we would expect to find it — a moral one. 
The dictum is : Bring to the study of spiritual 
things a pure heart and an obedient life, and you 
shall have eood success. But this condition the 
man of science often neglects, ignores. He will 
take into the spiritual realm the methods and proc- 
esses of science. Instead of a pure and loving 
heart, he brings the faculty of trained observation ; 
instead of the obedient life, he comes for the con- 
quest armed with a keen and vigorous intellect. 
All knowledge he cries is induction from obser- 
vation. Let me see, let me reason, let me dem- 
onstrate ; and with this contemptuous disregard 
of spiritual method he goes to work. He, for- 
sooth, will discover immortality in the structure 
of the body — in the seat of a gland, in the con- 
volution of a nerve, in the arrangement of the 
bioplastic atoms. 

Of course, his end is failure. God is not so 
found; nor spirit, nor immortality so demonstrated. 
But most justly, the failure here, and any un- 
belief arising from it, may be set down as the 
result of an unauthorized and a vicious method. 
The man has stalked rudely and coarsely into the 
spiritual world, as rudely and coarsely as if with 
blare of trumpet, and helmeted head, and leveled 


spear he should break into nature's beautiful 
works, to conquer landscape effects — so to woo 
the goddess of beauty ! 

Professing himself to be wise he has become 
a fool. So it was in Corinth and at Athens of 
old. Paul's preaching was to them foolishness, 
because it could not be run into the syllogism or 
into the philosophy of the schools. But their 
boasted wisdom is cast-off rubbish to-day, while 
Paul's foolishness seems good for generations yet 
to come. 

But without further dwelling upon this point, let 
me stop to ask, " When is the necessity of attach- 
ing any especial emphasis to the unbelief of human 
learning?" It does not adhere to the spiritual 
method. The fundamental condition of spiritual 
certitude it ignores. Much learning has brought 
upon it, if not madness, yet a manner quite repel- 
lent to all spiritual verity. Be so wise then as 
to save your fear for another and an entirely dif- 
ferent case. 

Wait till there comes to you a pure and rever- 
ent spirit — I care not how humble or unlearned — 
that can say, " I have loved, I have obeyed, I 
have prayed, I have laid my heart open in the 
simplicity of a little child — and still your God, 


your Christ, your immortal hope are as myths and 
fables to my soul." 

Before such a case as this, when it shall appear, 
let your faith fear and betake itself to a reexam- 
ination of its defenses. But before the man who 
has studied in a newspaper office and graduated 
from a clubroom ; before the Ishmaelite who 
parades the country over, for five hundred dollars 
a night, caricaturing all great and sacred things ; 
before the politician whose success has come 
through the debasement of his better self and 
nobler being ; before the professor of physics who 
has not discovered the eternal Spirit as he might 
a new line in the solar spectrum — before such as 
these, possess your soul in patience and your faith 
in confidence. Spiritual truth and spiritual hopes 
have never promised themselves unto such seekers. 
Such have, such get, what they desire. They 
have their reward, but this reward is not any one 
of the things that God has prepared for them that 
love Him. To every knowledge is its own fixed 
condition. You cannot see the odor of a rose. 
You cannot weigh the glories of a sunset in a 
grocer's scale. You cannot analyze the beauty of 
a lily or violet. You cannot mathematically dem- 
onstrate the winsomeness and the worthiness of 
virtue. So the things of God are not the product 


of human cerebration, but are His revelation unto 
the humble and reverent spirit of His human 

IV. But I must add yet again that we ought 
not to allow ourselves to be greatly troubled by 
the skepticism of prominent people, for the reason 
that this unbelief may be punitive in its nature — 
the penalty of a false and bad life. 

In many parts of the Bible it is written down in 
plainest words that light is withdrawn from those 
who will not walk in it; that the cataract of 
unbelief gathers over the eyes which will not 
look upon truth when she stands radiant before 
them. Listen to these words from the lips of 
Jesus : " Walk while ye have the light, that dark- 
ness overtake you not. . . While ye have the 
light, believe on the light, that ye may become 
sons of light ; " and these other ominous words : 
" Because they received not the love of the truth 
. . . God shall send them strong delusion, that 
they should believe a lie." 

We have no reason to conclude that this law 
is inoperative in our day. Inoperative ? Why, 
have we not with our own eyes seen cultured and 
learned men turn away from the great, broad 
teachings of Jesus Christ unto table tippings and 
the materialization of spirits ? Have we not seen 


men, wearing the laurels of science on their brows, 
close their eyes to the glory of a personal Creator 
and turn unto matter as holding within it the 
promise and potency of every form of life ? Do 
we not in this present day have before our eyes 
the spectacle of men prominent in the world of ^ 
law and letters, in pitiful bondage to a coarsely- 
shrewd, and grotesquely-pretentious woman ? 

What is the explanation of all this — this of 
great men showing themselves so little, this of 
the unbeliever having become so credulous as to 
hug to his bosom the most puerile nonsense? 
Read the explanation in the great law of the 
moral world to which I have referred. 

What then shall we do ? What shall be our 
attitude toward such skepticism ? Shall we refuse 
to look upon the sun, because there are those 
who have chosen darkness rather than light and 
lost their sight by so doing? Because moral 
law has visited its penalty of the darkened under- 
standing upon those who walked not in the light 
when it was given them, shall we therefore turn 
from the same light ? 

Rather is there not just here a measureless 
admonition that we should cleave unto the truth 
which we know, and hasten to embody it in our 
lives ? Carlyle, in speaking upon the law and the 


penalty here, quotes from the Koran this incident 
of certain dwellers by the Dead Sea to whom 
Moses was sent : " They sniffed and sneered at 
the prophet, saw no comeliness in him, and so he 
withdrew. But nature and other rigorous vorac- 
ities did not withdraw. When next we find these 
dwellers by the Dead Sea they are, according to 
the Koran, all changed into apes. By not using 
their souls they lost them, and now their only 
employment is to sit there and look out into the 
dreariest and most undecipherable sort of a uni- 
verse. Only once in seven days do they remem- 
ber that they once had souls." And to this inci- 
dent the stern prophet of reality appends these 
quaint and penetrating words : " Have you never, 
my reader, in your travels fallen in with parties of 
the tribe ? Methinks they have grown quite 
numerous of late." 

Oh, yes, numerous surely ! The foolish wise 
man, the believing unbeliever, credulous of the 
flimsiest speculations and the crudest guesses, 
swallowing readily the baldest contradictions of 
soul-consciousness and spiritual intuition, willing 
to take up with any " ism," no matter how absurd 
— he is upon every side of us. 

But wherever he appears, he is the embodied 
penalty of moral law : one who has lost his soul 


by not using it : a living illustration of the great 
truth that light cannot be scorned with impunity : 
a moving statue of one who professing himself to 
be wise has become a fool, and who is now com- 
pelled to and fro throughout the earth, that with 
garrulous lips he may warn the truth-respecting 
and the self-respecting soul from his own pitiful 

My fellow-Christians, it is the characteristic of 
every age and of individual life to imagine that its 
experience is peculiar. So strong and general is 
this tendency, that an inspired apostle deemed 
its correction nothing less than a comfort and an 
inspiration. "Think it not strange," writes he, 
" concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as 
though some strange thing happened unto you." 
And again he writes, " There hath no temptation 
taken you but such as is common to man." And 
so I say unto you to-day, you who are fighting 
the good fight of faith, no strange thing has hap- 
pened unto you. You may be saying within your- 
self, " Science is arraying itself against religion ; 
everywhere the banner of infidelity is being lifted 
up — there never was such a day." But in this you 
are mistaken. Listen to this voice from out St. 
Peter's day : " Where is the promise of His com- 
ing? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things 


continue as they were from the beginning of the 
creation." That is, the natural, that which we can 
see, is all that we can know of. So agnosticism 
is at least eighteen centuries old. Listen again as 
Paul gives voice to a special danger of his day : 
" They teach things which they ought not, for 
filthy lucre's sake." There is your infidel lecturer, 
your skeptical professor in the first century. And 
again the same apostle writes to Timothy : " Keep 
that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding 
profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of 
science falsely so called." There is scientific 
skepticism nineteen hundred years deep in the 

I tell you that every generation of Christians, 
since the Cross ran red upon Calvary, has held 
to faith against the same assaults that you feel and 
fear to-day. If you cannot triumph over these 
assaults, if you cannot hold on to faith against 
these oppositions, then are you no true descend- 
ants of those who have entered into rest, and now 
hang above you as a great cloud of witnesses. 

And I beseech you, if your faith is growing 
weak, if you feel that it is trembling before the 
assaults of skepticism, seek not to bolster it up by 
counter arguments. Turn rather from the un- 
vvorthiness in your life. Repent of your dis- 


loyalty to truth already known. Seek the true ; 
love the pure ; do the good. Live nearer to Him 
who is the truth. Open your heart to the inflow- 
ing of the divine Spirit. Show all reverence to 
your spiritual intuitions. Plead the promise, " If 
any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and it 
shall be given him." 

So shall the great things of the spiritual world 
daily become more certain to your soul ; so shall 
profane and vain babblings cease to trouble you ; 
so shall the scraps of human learning fall upon 
your great certitude and cause not a tremor within 
it ; and so with jjeace in the heart, along the path 
that shines brighter and brighter, shall you pass 
forward until the veil drops from your eyes and 
you stand face to face with the solved mystery of 
the universe. Do not imagine that the condition 
here is some wonderful spiritual elevation. The 
water-drop reflects the glorious sun, and so a 
thought of tender love, so an act of gentle kind- 
ness may reveal the Infinite Goodness, and make 
the whole spiritual universe real unto your soul. 

Ye who would come unto a stronger faith, re- 
member that the sublime verities of the moral 
world are hidden from the "wise and prudent." 
Remember that a man may be over-smart, over- 
wise toward God — so wise and so smart that 


loving Omniscience must abandon the hope of 
teaching him. Remember also that childhood is 
nearest to truth, and love, and God, and that into 
the kingdom of heaven, easily and forevermore, 
enters the one vi^ho becomes as a little child. 




" Be not therefore anxious for the morrow." — Matt, vi : 34. 

At the very outset, and with all confidence, we 
may say that the Saviour does not issue this 
injunction against prevision, against the anticipa- 
tion of the future by which man seems to be 
distinguished from the brutes that perish. Faith, 
which is fundamental in religion, is the substance 
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not 
seen. " By faith, Noah being warned of God of 
things not seen as yet, prepared an ark." " By 
faith, Abraham when he was called to go out into 
a place which he should afterwards receive for an 
inheritance, obeyed ; and he went out not know- 
ing whither he went." One of the most charac- 
teristic and general confessions of the Christian 
centuries has its expression in these words, " We 
walk by faith, not by sight." Jesus' own admoni- 
tions, and exhortations, and teachings, even the 
solemnest of them, reach out unto and take hold 
of the future, finding in this future both their 



justification and their emphasis. Yes, surely re- 
Hgion is a deahng in moral futures ! And we can- 
not believe that the great Teacher, with one voice 
fixes our attention upon the future, and with 
another voice bids us forget that future. He does 
not with one hand burn the morrow into our souls, 
and with the other shut it out from our thoughts. 
No ! the injunction of the text is not against pre- 
vision, not against the anticipation of the future, 
but against anxiety, against gnawing, weakening, 
distressing care. 

This injunction also is issued only to a certain 
kind or type of human Hfe. 

Will you go to the man who is giving way to 
the passion for strong drink and say, " Be not 
anxious for the morrow " ? To the man who is 
living beyond his means and embezzling money 
to keep up the vicious and pitiful display, will you 
go and say, " Be not anxious for the morrow " ? 
Why, both of these classes and all their kindred 
ought to be full of anxiety for the future. So not 
to the human life which is forgetting God and 
restraining prayer and neglecting duty ; not to 
the one who is living the mere sense life, as if 
there was no such thing as responsibility, or sin, 
or judgment, or God, not to such a type of Hfe 
does Jesus ever say, " Be not anxious for the 


future " ; but to the reverent, the thoughtful, the 
conscientious, to the man who is doing the best 
he knows, to the Hfe which is purposely and 
lovingly a child of the Great Father — to this one 
the voice of Jesus comes evermore in the shape 
of these beautiful words, " Be not anxious for the 

But how shall we come to heed this injunction 
of our Lord ? How shall we come to face, and 
to make continual approach to the type of life 
that its words disclose and authorize? What is 
the basis, standing upon which, we may intelli- 
gently and hopefully strive to come unto faith of 
soul, calmness of life, and trust for the future? 
Some exclusions must be made here, and those 
without hesitation. 

First, will-power. It is vain to say, " I will not 
worry." This for two reasons. The will has no 
such power over the heart, and this power, what- 
ever its strength to-day, may itself be undermined 
and fall into a pitiful weakness. Neither can we 
successfully address ourselves to the life-lesson 
set before us by the Saviour under the direction 
of youth and health. The strength of to-day 
may vanish in the sickness of to-morrow, and 
youth is an unreliable confidence, an ally whose 
forces are continually deserting us. Neither can 


earthly abundance help us greatly here. Money 
cannot feed the heart with peace even when it is 
with us, and we know that it cannot go with us 
into many of the morrows which shall be most 
prolific of anxiety. What power shall money 
have to serve us in the morrow of sorrow? in 
the morrow of pain ? in the morrow of world- 
leaving ? in the morrow of judgment ? 

If then these exclusions and all similar ones 
must be unhesitatingly made, what is left us as 
preparation for obedience to the injunction of the 
Saviour ? 

Simply this : We must have in full and forceful 
heart-possession the conviction which warrants 
the banishment of anxiety. This is made up of 
two parts — the one, a fact which we all do know 
and which Jesus lifted up into unfading light, and 
the other the truth which He came into the world 
to reveal and to teach. This fact is the impotency 
of man ; this truth is the love of God. Our hope 
then, and our only hope, of coming unto the life, 
the blessed life unto which Jesus calls, lies in our 
realization of these two great laws : 

First, the helplessness of man over the morrow. 
Secondly, the love of God that embosoms this 

Now let me serve you as best I may in this 


hour, by echoing within your ears and hearts the 
voices with which Jesus teaches these two great 
conditions of the trustful and happy Hfe. 

Listen, first of all, to His voice as He sets forth 
the pitiful impotency of man : 

** Which of you by taking thought can add one 
cubit unto his stature ? " " If ye then be not able 
to do that thing which is least, why take ye 
thought for the rest?" Dwell, I pray you, for a 
moment upon this declaration, if so be it may 
sink into your heart with its blessed power of 
emancipation and of trust. 

The helplessness of the human life in relation 
to the future is so complete as to be fairly pitiful. 
It reaches even unto the extent of absolute igno- 
rance of this future. " For ye know not what 
shall be on the morrow." How then can you 
prepare for the unseen ? How can your anxiety 
set in order that which is and must remain abso- 
lutely unknown ? The curtain may rise upon a 
scene of joy or upon a scene of sorrow : upon 
health or upon sickness : upon the bountiful frui- 
tion of your dearest hopes or upon these hopes 
withered and scattered as so many autumn leaves. 
It may rise upon a scene in which success shall 
sit at her ease while the golden horn of plenty 
empties itself into her overflowing lap, or it may 


rise upon a scene of poverty, bare and bleak, swept 
by biting winds and overhung with wrathful 
clouds. What now ? Shall your soul consume 
itself with anxiety over the to-morrow which 
may come to mock all your anticipations ? Shall 
you prepare for adversity, when in the book of 
the future, prosperity is written over against your 
name ? Shall you arrange a bottle for your tears, 
when God intends that you shall laugh instead ? 
Oh, how many human lives have prepared for a 
future which they never were to see ; arranged 
for the crossing of bridges unto which they never 
were to come ; laboriously planned for the rolling 
away of stones, which they were to find, when 
they came up to them, already rolled away ! How 
many have anticipated with anxiety the days and 
the cares of old age when it was written in God's 
book that they should die young ! How many 
have fretted their souls over coming poverty, and 
with fingers of borrowed care have raveled out 
the beautiful garment of present happiness, when 
heaven's voice had said of the future, Let it 
bring them riches ! What a countless number 
of parents have worried themselves over the fu- 
ture settlement of their children, have fed their 
souls with increasing anxiety as to what their 
children would do when bereft of parental love 


and care, when it was God's purpose all the 
while to take the children first ! What numbers 
throughout the world have looked forward to and 
laid their plans for the quiet evening of life when 
business should be laid aside and all its rasping 
cares dismissed, and then have dropped dead in 
the harness, its galls and abrasions so many run- 
ning sores upon all their being ! 

It is surely one of the most solemn and pathetic 
thoughts which can enter the mind of man that 
a very large if not the greater part of the suffer- 
ing of human hearts has been over things that 
never were to be — has been trouble borrowed in 
view of imaginary days and imaginary dangers. 
I can see him now — the rich fool as he starts 
forth from the canvas of the Great Master. He 
is in great perplexity of mind over what he shall 
do with his ripening fruits and increasing goods. 
Even his present abundance he could not enjoy, 
so full was he of anxiety over the new barns that 
were necessary for the garnering of his increasing 
wealth. O fool, fool, — for such the world will 
ever call thee, — thou art giving thyself trouble 
over a future which thou shalt never see ! Thou 
art saying what thou wilt do, how thou wilt meet 
thy coming days when from the lips of Him in 
whose hands thy breath is, there has already gone 


forth the word, " This night thy soul shall be re- 
quired of thee." 

I see those others also — a moving, flying pict- 
ure of the same truth. As the train dashes on- 
ward, how many hearts within it are full of anxiety 
for the morrow ! " If my health should continue to 
grow worse," says one within his heart, " I shall be 
obliged to give up my business, and then what will 
my poor family do ? " Another is fearing and 
troubled lest the sickness of his wife should prove 
fatal and he be left with motherless children to care 
for. Still another is in distress for fear the invest- 
ment which is all his fortune shall prove unsound 
and he be left in poverty and want. 

So throughout the train — anxiety for the mor- 
row fills human hearts, furrows human faces, when 
suddenly a lurch, a plunge, a crash, a mass of 
dying groans, and a score of these anxious human 
souls are flying Godward, all thoughts of earth's 
to-morrow forever out of their minds. 

This also is true. The future may be much 
brighter than the anxiety of human hearts depicts. 
You who fear an early death may see your four- 
score years. Health may be waiting for you who 
fear a lifelong invalidism. The difficulties which 
you think you see in your future pathway may be 
only clumps of mist which will resolve themselves 


and disappear as you draw closer. The lions may 
be chained. You may find that everything is for 
you instead of everything being against you. You 
may come upon joy when you expect sorrow; 
meet with success when you anticipate failure ; 
come out upon a broad, smooth current where 
you have marked down the shooting rapids and 
the fearful falls. At least this much is true : your 
future is altogether unknown to you, and no 
anxiety on your part can prepare you for it. 

So Jesus reasons when to-day He speaks unto 
you to say, " Be not anxious for the morrow." But 
He does not stop with this argument ; He does 
not rest His case with your heart upon this show- 
ing. Beyond this He goes into that which He 
makes His great and characteristic argument with 
the anxious soul of man — viz., the measureless 
and unfailing love of the Father which is in 
heaven. Without this, poor and weak would 
have been His case. Our impotency, our igno- 
rance would be a poor schoolmaster to bring us 
unto trust — poor comfort to wrap round our 
fearing hearts unless they also were themselves 
wrapped round about with the love which is quick 
to pity and able to save. 

The fundamental, the all-conditioning fact of our 
world and of the universe is the existence of the 


infinite God, and the fundamental truth concern- 
ing this infinite God is that He is a benignant 
power. He is the Father of all the children of 
earth and time ; His highest, His all-inclusive 
name is Love ; and this love throned in the heav- 
ens is the great, the unanswerable argument against 
the anxiety that furrows the face and consumes 
the heart of His human child. If this love did 
not exist, if it might fail, vain would it be to plead 
the ignorance and the helplessness of the human 
life — vain the attempt to mention any other or all 
other reasons for the dismission of anxiety and 
fear. If the completeness of infinite love flowed 
not out unto our incompleteness, then we might 
well worry and fear all our earthly days. If a 
frown might gather upon that face which is the 
light of the universe, then would every human 
heart have good reason for the apprehension of 
evil, for at any moment this frown might fall as 
night upon the joy and the hope of man. If a 
malignant thought might lift its dark form upward 
in that heart whose pulsations feed all life and 
being, then might every creature life reach out 
with fear and trembling for the future, for that 
wrathful thought might at any moment drive as 
a thunderbolt through the home and the joy of 
the soul. 


But this we know from Jesus' lips can never 
be. Love it is that illumines the face that from 
the depths looks out upon man and the world, 
and love shall beautify its features forever. Love 
it is that fills the heart that feeds the stream of 
human hope, and this love in an endless current 
shall flow forth unto all creature need. This, then, 
is the great, the supreme argument against anx- 
iety which Jesus makes with you to-day — viz. : 
Will you not trust your future in the hands of 
the infinite Love ? Will you not, as a child, 
calmly commit yourself unto the care of the 
almighty and all-loving Father? Will you not, 
as you look forth upon the long, long path by 
which you go, let your heart have expression in 
this triumph of faith ? 

" I know not what the future hath 
Of marvel or surprise ; 
Assured alone, that life and death 
His mercy underlies." 

That you may be able to fill your heart with a 
measure of this blessed confidence, Jesus asks you 
to look forth upon the broad fields whereon in 
illuminated characters is written the demonstration 
of an overruling power and a Divine care. Listen 
to His words and His argument : " Behold the 


fowls of the air : for they sow not, neither do they 
reap. . . Yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." 
Oh, ye anxious ones, can you not believe that 
you are much better than the fowls, much 
worthier of the Divine care, much surer of receiv- 
ing it ? 

Look forth again, and, while you look, listen 
still to the Saviour's voice of interpretation. " Con- 
sider the hlies of the field, how they grow ; they 
toil not, neither do they spin : And yet I say unto 
you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not 
arrayed like one of these." Oh ! ye whose hearts 
are filled with anxiety for the morrow, can you not 
while you look and while you listen make your 
own this sweet inference which Jesus voices for 
you : " If, then, God so clothe the grass of the 
field, . . . shall He not much more clothe you, 
Oh ! ye of little faith ? " 

Once more lift up your eyes upon the illumi- 
nated field, and may those eyes be opened that 
you may see. 

Behold Calvary's stark and bitter cross flowing 
red with the blood of an infinite sacrifice ! Draw 
closer to this Cross, that your eyes may be able 
to spell out these words that are written upon it : 
" If God spared not His own Son, but delivered 
Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him 


also freely give us all things ? " So we read 
in letters each one of which is crimson with a 
love that was unto death. So unto this glo- 
rious fullness rounds out the truth which the 
Divine Teacher to-day gives unto you for the 
rebuking and forbidding of your anxious heart. 
Take it again, this divine argument, in all its com- 
pleteness. The Feeder of the fowls, the Limner 
of the lilies, the Giver of the Saviour — the future, 
your future, is in the hands of this loving One, of 
this great Care-taker, of this ungrudging and un- 
ceasing Giver, and you may safely trust Him 
with it. 

But all this, I know, may be truth only for the 
head. What power shall give it unto the heart, 
shall make it the inspiration, the strength and the 
joy of earth's passing days ? Many things seem 
against us here, I know. Over the chamber door 
of many of our hearts sits the raven form of in- 
herited melancholy. The dregs of poisoned lives 
run in our veins, and the specters of unbelief, 
these also a birthmark, flit through our minds ! 
Then, besides, we live in a world full of anxiety 
and fear, with care upon every side of us forever- 
more lifting up its horse-leech cry ! Then, to 
crown all, we have behind us, many of us, years 
of living, so poor, so superficial, so false, so self- 


seeking and self- trusting as almost to disable the 
power of beautiful faith. How can we, how can 
such as we, come unto peace? In such a world, 
and at the end of these selfish, restless, fearing, 
profitless days, how can we trust ? 

To all this I can reply only by saying that no 
unworthiness of the past shackles and imprisons 
our beautiful possibilities as children of the infinite 
Father. To all this I can reply only by saying 
there is a Divine Spirit whose office it is to take of 
the things of God and show them unto men, whose 
prerogative it is to shed abroad in human hearts 
the knowledge of the power of the Divine Love. 
To all this I can reply only by saying a man may 
be born when he is old, so old — born into the 
kingdom of God, born of the Spirit of God ! 

To this revealer of God and recreator of man, 
I pray you turn. Upon bended knees, beseech 
His inspiration, His interpretation of the Saviour's 
argument. His revelation of the Divine Love, His 
teaching of the lesson of the child's love and the 
child's trust. 

My fellow-men, I come to you — unto you 
who believe in God as Father and Jesus Christ 
as Saviour — with this word of invitation : Trust 
God. Let the fowls of the air, always fed ; let 
the grass of the field, always clothed ; let the 


fall of the sparrow, always noted ; let the cross 
of the Saviour, always luminous ; let the sweet 
name of Father brought by Jesus from the skies, 
and now vocal in the air of earth, emphasize to 
you the invitation : — Trust God with your future ! 
Oh, ye children of men whose flesh is often weak, 
whose hearts are often fearing, there is no one 
who loves you as God loves you, there is no one 
who yearns for your confidence as God yearns for 
it ! Oh, ye whose hearts hold a bitterness with 
which a stranger may not intermeddle, and who 
along so many solitary paths are making your 
ways through life's darkness unto your little 
graves, there is One on high who is touched with 
the feeling of your infirmities, and to-day the min- 
ister plenipotentiary from this height of infinite 
love stands by your side and, pointing you down 
the long, long line of the morrows — the morrow 
of loss, the morrow of sorrow, the morrow of 
weakness, the morrow of pain, the morrow of 
death, the morrow of judgment, the morrow of 
immortality — speaks unto your heart to say : '* Be 
not anxious, for, though you are weak, God is 
strong and good." 

Be yours the answer of the helpless, loving, 
trusting child, the answer of trust which shall sing 
to sleep the doubts and the fears of your haunted 


and restless hearts with the voice of this sweet 
confidence. The future — my future — is in God's 
hand, and love shall make the gift ! 

And so beside the silent sea, 

I wait the muffled oar ; 
No harm from Him can come to me 

On ocean or on shore. 

I know not where His islands lift 

Their fronded palms in air ; 
I only know I cannot drift 

Beyond His love and care. 




" The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." — Ps. liii : i. 

The Bible does not argue the existence of God. 
It takes this for granted, as it takes the being of 
man for granted, as it takes the existence of the 
material universe for granted. Its very first 
words are : " In the beginning God created the 
heaven and the earth." 

Neither does the Bible ever stop to make ex- 
plicit and positive assertion of the existence of 
God. This also it seems to regard as unneces- 
sary, an affront to human reason, and a shame to 
the intuitions of the soul. But although it does 
not argue nor categorically assert the being of 
God, the Bible has now and then a word of irony 
and scorn for the atheism which is whispered in 
the heart or spoken by the life. The text is an 
example of the former ; and I would have you at 
this time look into some very common and crys- 
talline depths round about you, that so be, for the 



quickening of your faith, you may catch the glint 
of its bitter and beautiful scorn. 

First of all, I ask you to gaze into the depths 
of the material universe. 

This is unmeasured and immeasurable. It is 
unbounded ; it is boundless. Take your stand 
upon the rounded surface of our globe and look 
into the celestial depths. You perceive no line 
of limitation ; you can discover no outer edge ; 
you can conceive even of no circumference. As 
far as the unassisted eye can reach, as far as the 
eagle eye of the telescope can penetrate ; yea, as 
far as imagination can soar, it is the same un- 
changing vista — world upon world, sun upon sun, 
system upon system, in endless succession and 
with ever-increasing glory ! Count the trees of 
the forest — there is a world for every one ! Num- 
ber the flowers of the field — there is a sun for 
every one ! Yea, count the millions of the human 
race, and then behold in the separating clusters 
of the Milky Way not only a sun, but a system 
for every individual life ! Take the wings of the 
morning, — your chariot, the swift-winged light 
that girdles our globe eight times in a second, — 
and forty centuries shall have swept by you be- 
fore you reach yon shining point which is nightly 
telling to our earth the wondrous story of its 


birth. Make this jeweled stepping stone a new 
starting point ; add four thousand years of more 
than lightning speed, — eight thousand years you 
have now traveled, new-darted with the light, — 
where is the circumference, — where the outer 
edge ? Ah ! if this is what you seek, you may as 
well turn backward in your flight, for immensity 
girts you in — that immensity of which every 
point is equally the center! Such is the material 
grandeur, the inconceivable vastness, the awful 
depths into which the man must look who says 
within his heart, " No God ! No God !" 

Take another point. All these worlds, all these 
suns, all these systems are swung in empty space, 
are hung upon nothing. Listen to the challenge 
as, breaking from the lips of an unseen speaker, 
it rings its bold sublimity in the ears of the patri- 
arch of Uz : ** Whereupon are the foundations of 
the earth fastened? Declare, if thou hast under- 
standing ! " Look about you ! There is no un- 
moving point, no ponderous staple to which our 
earth is fastened. Momentarily transport your- 
self to the other hemisphere — there is no founda- 
tion upon which the world is builded ! " Yea, He 
stretcheth the north over the empty place and 
hangeth the earth upon nothing." 

Take another fact still. These worlds innu- 


merable, these worlds hung all upon nothing, 
are all in motion, all sweeping forward with 
amazing velocity. Yet there is no collision, no 
jar, no sense of motion even ! The whole uni- 
verse, with not an atom of it at rest, and its 
motion music — upon this sublimely beautiful 
thought let your mind rest for a moment. 

The moon revolves round our earth, the earth 
revolves upon its axis, while moon and earth 
sweep onward round the sun. The sun itself 
revolves, planet after planet wheel in well-ap- 
pointed courses round him as their center, while 
at the same time earth, and heaven, and planets, 
and sun are sweeping forward, through unknown 
cycles, round a more sublime and imperious 
center still ! Yet there is no collision, no jar, 
no uncertainty. We ourselves are the subjects 
of at least three well-defined and amazing mo- 
tions, and yet there is no uncertainty in our 
steps, no ruffling of our garments, no disturb- 
ance of the most delicate machinery of our 
threefold being. 

But I can dwell no longer upon this point. 
Upon this vast, immeasurable, baseless, whirring 
universe it is that the man must look who says 
within his heart, " No God ! No God ! " I appeal 
to you : Is not the Psalmist right when he lifts 


his hand to brand the forehead of such an one 
with the scorn of the text ? Does not the deep, 
clear voice of the human spirit — does not the 
instinct of the human mind reach forth to under- 
write the terrible verdict, and, with the living fire 
of self-evident and necessary truth, to burn still 
deeper the damnatory mark ? This infinite ex- 
panse that encircles us, and which in immeas- 
urable waves of insufferable splendor sweeps out 
from us unto a circumference that is never 
reached, — this mighty universe, in which our 
earth is but an atom, — does it not take up the 
declaration of the text and reecho it throughout 
all its upper and nether depths ? This flying 
immensity, whose flight is one unending song; 
these august worlds and blazing suns, whose mo- 
tion is a music that diadems the throne of law 
with a corona of perpetual incense — do they not 
catch up the reproach and, weaving it into their 
never-ceasing watchword of glory to the Creator, 
ring throughout all their infinite spaces the de- 
risive words, " Thou worm ! Thou fool !" 

But let us continue our endeavor, not to demon- 
strate the existence of Deity, but to realize the 
justification of the Psalmist's verdict, while we 
turn to catch the glint of the scorn of the text in 
and from Him who is earth's most prominent 


object — at once its inhabitant, its possessor, and 
its Lord. 

Here also I will name but three points — lift up 
before you but three capital truths. 

First, man, " fearfully and wonderfully made." 

Secondly, man, with a sense of dependence. 

Thirdly, man, with a sense of accountability. 

Enough there is in the first of these, even if I 
should omit the other two. 

The human frame — its beauty, its unity, its 
complications ; the mutual subserviency of all its 
members, their numberless adaptations and inter- 
dependencies; its system of electric nerves; its 
network of living channels ; its bands of tendon 
and muscle ; its manifold eye ; its mysterious ear- 
gate ; its organs of articulation, easily giving forth 
the sounds that call for half a thousand different 
adjustments with every passing moment; its 
instrument of all work, the thumb — Man, the up- 
right, walking, talking, rational, ruling form of 
earth's creation is enough to justify unto reason's 
ear forever the indignant scorn of the inspired 

But here we have only commenced. Think of 
the union of spirit and body; of mind and matter; 
of flesh and fire! Think of the immortal soul 
living, hiding within this tabernacle of flesh — 


governing, guiding, inspiring this material frame; 
now sending its imperial mandate along the tele- 
graphic nerve that a finger may be lifted; now 
ordering the contraction and now the expansion 
of a muscle ; suffering through the body's hurts ; 
joying through the body's health ; disposing of 
all the physical forces as a general does of his 
troops, and sometimes, as if turned traitor, infuri- 
ating the hand which clutches the dagger which 
turns its frail companion to dust by the act of a 

Centuries ago, a man whose eyes were opened 
looked upon all this and gave out his conclusion 
in these words : " I will praise Thee ; for I am 
fearfully and wonderfully made." And while he 
was so wondering and praising, he heard by his 
side a human heart whispering into his ear the 
words, " No God ! No God !" Was it strange 
that in such a case the impressed and reverent 
spirit should intermit its praises long enough to 
turn and exclaim : " No God, and yet so fearfully 
and wonderfully made — why, thou fool !" 

But let us go farther. 

There is a sense of dependence hidden within 
the depths of man's being. Listen to it as it 
breaks forth in the hour of sudden peril ! Hear 
it as it mingles itself in sorrow's wail ! Catch its 


accents, as in minor tones it pours itself through 
all languages and through all literatures ! It is 
not peculiar to those who have received a relig- 
ious education, but belongs to man as man. With 
all men, in all ranks, in all nationalities, in all 
ages it is found. The prayers of all the genera- 
tions breathe it. The hymns of all the genera- 
tions sing it. Thus its universality proves that 
this sense of consciousness is no artificial quality 
that has been bred into human nature, but an 
original endowment, a primal and necessary fac- 
tor of human nature. 

Now, if there is no Infinite One upon whom 
we may depend, what have we ? Not a false 
and vicious habit bred into man, but a mock- 
ing delusion as one of the original elements 
of his being, a hideous lie woven into the very 
texture of the human soul. We have the flower 
turning its pale face as if sunward, and only a 
cold, blank nothingness to answer its sweet voice 
of worship and of trust. The tides lift up their 
mighty masses, as if in the enthusiasm of their 
loyalty they would pour out their very being 
upon a mighty orb, and as their answer hear only a 
thin and hollow voice calling out, " What do ye — 
there is nothing here?" We have the homing 
instinct of the bird, and no home ! — the faith of 


the child, and no father! — the unescapable idea 
of God, and no God ! Surely, if not worthy of a 
harder name, he is a fool who thus deals with the 
ineradicable consciousness of the human soul, 
and stamps our moral constitution a contradiction 
and a lie. 

But further consider. All men have the idea 
of moral quality. They distinguish between the 
right and the wrong, and are compelled so to dis- 
tinguish. I say not that the standard of right is 
uniform. It is not. What is right to one man or 
a nation is not always so to another individual or 
to a different race. But the sense of moral qual- 
ity is universal. All classes, all individuals have 
their right and their wrong — divide human con- 
duct into two categories, that which ought, and 
that which ought not to be done. And this is all 
that is asked for here — this universal and neces- 
sary idea of rightness, of obligation, of judgment 
condemnatory or approving, upon the acts that 
men perform. Consider, first, that this is uni- 
versal. Consider, secondly, that being something 
which has not been bred into human nature, it is 
also something which cannot be bred out of 
human nature. A false education, the power of 
a bad life, the influence of a vicious environment, 
are able to oppose, to weaken, to silence this moral 


sense, but not to destroy it. Within the soul, 
enfeebled and silent though it be, it continues its 
existence, and in many ways gives evidence of its 
readiness at any future moment to reassert itself 

This moral sense — natural, universal, appar- 
ently deathless — what can it be but the impress 
of the infinite upon the finite ; the echo of a 
divine voice within the human soul ; the sentence 
of a great and final judge in ceaseless articulation ? 
It is nonsense to cry out '* superstition." As 
well shout " parallelogram !" There is no expla- 
nation in this word superstition. The question 
remains. How does it happen that human nature 
always takes on this particular form of delusion ? 
Neither is it anything more than pompous ver- 
bosity to call this moral sense an eddy of the 
great stream of tendency, or the correlate of law. 
Law without a lawgiver is a misnomer and non- 
sense. There never was and there never can be 
such a law. Law is not force, but only a method 
of force, having power neither to originate nor to 
execute itself. 

Look now at the matter as it stands. A sense 
within man says, there is such a thing as right 
and there is such a thing as wrong : the right 
ought to be done, and the wrong ought not to be 
done ; do the right and it shall be well with you ; 


do the wrong and you shall suffer. These 
voices are coeval with the race of man, are un- 
ceasing, undying within the individual soul. What 
then is the necessary conclusion ? What can it 
be but this ? Man is under law, and this means 
man responsible to a lawgiver; and this again 
means, man accountable unto God. Yet within 
the heart, in which echo these deathless voices, 
there has been heard the whisper, " No God, 
No God ! " Why this, surely, is man turning upon 
himself! This is the free agent saying with his 
own being — "Thou lie !" This is a manufactured 
whisper, lifted up against the involuntary and con- 
tinuous testimony of all the moral powers, and 
surely he must be a fool who, by an effort of the 
will, gives birth and continuance and respect unto 
such an unnatural, interjected, and evermore re- 
puted falsehood. 

But again, you may catch the reflection of the 
scorn of the text from the surface and from out 
the depths of human history. Here also the ne- 
cessity of the sermon compels brevity. I mention, 
first of all, the general progress of the realization 
of righteousness — a state of rightness — for earth 
and man. Surely this gleams from the bosom 
of the centuries. The march of what we know 
as the forces of civilization has been an onward 


march. See this in the growth and spread of 
civil and reHgious Hberty; in the emancipation 
of woman ; in the upHfting of the poor ; in the 
enlargement of the common man ; in the count- 
less forms of charity, which, crystallizing in 
most beautiful shapes, fairly bestud the crown 
of earth, as stars the crown of night ; in the ten 
thousand forms of merciful alleviation, which with 
ever-increasing number and efficiency are work- 
ing for the amelioration of human suffering, and 
for the righting of human wrong. 

Slow, do you say ? I care not to argue over 
this word " slow." We are but creatures of a day 
— yesterday in our cradle and to-morrow in our 
grave — and are not, perhaps, good judges of what 
is slow and what is rapid, in the progress of the 
forces of an infinite realm, and an eternal king- 
dom. All that I desire that you should recognize 
and admit here, is the power which is working for 
righteousness in this world — the tidal force which 
is pushing the waters of a regenerating influence 
farther and still farther into the continent of 
human sorrow and of human sin. " Man " — do 
you cry out? Human agency, all this ? Why it 
originated in a world that needed it, but which on 
account of this need could not and did not desire 
it, It has been carried forward in days and 


through centuries where no love of it, and no 
purposeful cooperation with it, was to be found in 
heart of man or power of earth. 

I mention, secondly, remarkable interpositions 
in human history — patent ab-extra and dominat- 
ing influences. 

" To the Nile, with your fore-doomed child," 
spoke the voice of earth's mightiest Power to a 
poor Hebrew mother, centuries ago. The slave- 
mother obeyed, and in obeying placed her child 
in the arms of Pharaoh's daughter, to be nourished 
as Israel's deliverer. And this is but a typical 
case. Frequently in the history of the world 
have human wisdom and human power wrought 
out the confusion and overthrow of their most 
dearly cherished plans. Babels have been re- 
solved upon and never builded ; persecutors have 
scattered the seeds of the life that was to be 
stamped out; human slavery has been extin- 
guished by means resolved upon by the most 
astute political wisdom for its extension and 
defense ; the wrath of man has praised, not him- 
self, but an unseen power which stood in his 
pathway with a flaming sword. 

Besides the general progress of the world, and 
this supernatu rally adroit interposition into human 
history, I mention one conspicuous, salient fact. 


viz., the Christian Church. This was founded by- 
one Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter's son, born in 
a stable in Bethlehem of Judaea, poor, despised, 
absolutely destitute of every species of human 
influence, and whose life was, at the last, swept 
from the earth's surface by an ignominious death. 
This religion was promulgated by a band of twelve 
disciples, all but one of whom were illiterate men. 
It has nothing in it, either in the duties that it 
enjoins, or in the rewards that it promises, to 
allure the ambition or to gratify the passions of 

Yet it has lived, yet it has grown, shaping 
civilizations, building nations, marshaling the 
mightiest forces of time. Mohammedanism, that 
flashed upon the world with the light of its 
drawn sword, now grows paler and paler with the 
increasing dimness of this sword, and even with 
the hope of its sensual paradise is now able to 
kindle but a feeble fire of loyalty within the earth. 
But nineteen hundred years have passed, and now 
no longer oriental, but occidental as well, the 
Christian Church marches in the van of the 
world's progress, and is incontestably the most 
vital, the most extended, the most modern, the 
most powerful of all the forces that to-day are 
shaping the history of our globe. 


But here again I pause. What shall we say ? 
That the past centuries cry aloud there is a God? 
Yes, surely this. But this is a weak translation 
of their testimony. Let us give the witness 
nobler, worthier voice. As its gulf stream of 
progress, distinctly visible through all the cur- 
rents and counter-currents of the past, cuts its 
way onward with a force which no human power 
may stay or divert; as its ten thousand mar- 
velous conjunctions and issues which no human 
intelligence conceived and no human power 
wrought out, lift themselves up in luminous 
array, history, scorning to be set forth as the 
proof of a necessary and self-evident truth, fairly 
thunders forth this voice : " The man who, even in 
his heart, dares to say, no God ! no God ! — let 
him be called a fool and all the centuries shall 
cry, Amen." 

But once more. 

Let us justify unto ourselves the bold language 
of the text by a glance unto Him who is the cen- 
tral figure among all time's millions, the personal- 
ity round whom all time's centuries revolve — 
Jesus of Nazareth, 

Take the Sermon on the Mount. Was such 
teaching current, was it possible, in the day and 
nation in which Jesus lived ? The answer can- 


not be kept back or changed : " Never man spake 
like this man." In method — its calm, undoubt- 
ing, yet gentlest dogmatism ; in the elevation of 
its tone — its moral sublimity ; in its majestic 
breadth — its application to all days and to all men 
— it was supernatural, something that was not 
born of that age, but which descended upon it, 
was let down into it. 

Then look unto and mark the breadth of Jesus* 
character and sympathies. 

Remember that He belonged to the narrowest, 
the most exclusive people on the face of the 
earth ; yet in His sympathies and hopes He em- 
braced the world, and all His words and doctrines 
are current coin in the twentieth century and in 
the land of the setting sun. Jesus still leads in 
the world's progress. The carpenter's Son is, 
unto this day, facile princeps among the world's 
great reformers. Can any thoughtful mind re- 
ceive this, and then say, " Man is at the head — 
there is nothing above man "? 

Consider further the surpernatural beauty of 
His character. In that far-off, narrow, bigoted, 
selfish, cruel day, behold Him walking unspotted, 
stainless, loving — the Man of the seamless robe, 
set not only above that day, but above all earth's 
days and men. That light, that radiance, that 


unmatched beauty, that corona of unapproached 
goodness, was it merely, only human ? As well 
affirm that the unsufferable splendor of yonder 
sun is but our earth's reflected hght. Oh, no ! 
The eyes that look upon the Man of Palestine be- 
hold a brightness more than human, look upon a 
light that has never gilded land or sea in all the 
centuries of human evolution. He is the mani- 
festation of an unseen glory ; the outraying of 
an infinite excellence, which would thus become 
the light of the world, the light and the life of 

The glance within, the glance without, meet 
the glint of the text. The Psalmist was none too 
bold, his scorn none too incisive. He but spoke 
the plain and solemn truth when he said he is 
a fool who says within his heart. No God, no 
God. Here let me affirm, that the day for 
calling things by their right names shall not al- 
ways be postponed. ** This thing was not done 
in a corner." A day of light has dawned upon 
our world and human lives are passing forward 
into it. Now is the judgment of this world, and 
human lives are haled unto this judgment. It is 
a day of God in which we live, and human souls 
must meet Him in it. There is no escape from 
this issue and from this demonstration. No hu- 


man mind may ignore or belittle the primal fact 
and basal truth of the universe, and for long 
pass as a profound thinker. The agnosticism 
which is virtual atheism shall not always be re- 
garded as proof presumptive of mental breadth 
and power. The living soul of the universe shall 
break forth upon the human spirit. "A God!" 
the heavens shall cry. "A God !" the earth reply. 
In this bursting light in the apocalypse of the one 
all-inclusive Reality, in this blazing forth of the 
Infinite, whither shall run or in what dark cor- 
ner hide, the puny, presuming creature-life, which 
dared to wear as its crown that know-nothingism 
which is the scorn of the mind's highest reach, 
and the contempt of the soul's sweetest inspira- 
tion ? Wherever he may flee or wherever hide, 
truth's living light shall dart after him to burn 
deep, and still deeper into his forehead the words 
of this merciless condemnation : " Professing him- 
self to be wise, this man became a fool." 

Only one word more. If the scorn of the text 
justly lies against the one who says in his heart, 
" No God," must it not also apply and with cumu- 
lative force to the man who in and by his life says 
" There is no God " ? This is a form of the athe- 
istic lie which is upon every side of us. Different 
classes of human lives are continually crying it 


into our ears. Let me mention some of these 

First, the sensual type — the intemperate, the 
licentious. If there is a God, He must abhor this 
human filth. Therefore, this class, the impure, 
the dissolute, by their lives are shouting out the 
words, " No God, no God." 

Secondly, the irreverent type. Human lives 
for twenty, forty, four score years walk the won- 
drous earth-path that takes its way over the 
rounded surface of a flying world beneath the 
mighty arch of the skies ; live all these years 
girt in with inconceivable wonder on every 
hand ; fairly deluged with evidences of supernal 
power and immeasurable wisdom, and drop at 
length into the darkness of the grave, non-wor- 
shipers, without once having bowed their souls 
before the infinities of wisdom and power that 
were blazoned forth before their eyes. Surely 
this is living as if there was no God. 

Thirdly, the self-centered, the utterly selfish 
type. Men and women there are in every city, 
by the score, to whom money has come by in- 
heritance, or through the talents bestowed upon 
them, or the opportunities offered to them, who 
are spending this money, and all this money, 
upon themselves, and only upon themselves. 


They build the new and spacious mansion ; 
they clothe themselves in gorgeous apparel ; 
they take the summer voyage and the winter ex- 
cursion, and this year after year, just as if there 
was no want or suffering within the world — just as 
if they did not belong to a brotherhood many of 
whose members are ignorant and poor and cold 
and hungry. Surely again, if infinite Love de- 
lights in the service of her needy children, this 
is living as if there was no God. Surely again, 
life here is one bold, shameless word, thrust into 
the ears of men, and into the face of heaven — this 
one, bold, shameless word, " No God ! no God !" 

So by actions, that speak louder than words, are 
human lives shouting upon every side of us the 
affirmation of the heart against which the text 
directs its scorn. Men ignore duty. When the 
call is unto worship, they do not bow. When the 
command is for obedience, they lift up self-will as 
their highest law. So are men everywhere, in the 
light of this twentieth century of Christ, saying, 
not in heart-whispers, but in the outspoken voice 
of conduct, " No God — no God." 

Here, by the deep, full heavens into which 
men look ; by the sense of dependence and ac- 
countability that stirs within the human heart ; by 
the luminous path of human progress that reaches 


through the centuries unto the present day ; and 
by the beautiful Christ who evermore is lifted up 
before human eyes, I protest against this atheism 
of the life, and prophesy the breaking of a day, 
which shall turn the blush of shame into its cheek, 
and in the light of a demonstration which shall 
justify the coronation, shall place upon its head a 
blacker crown than that which, centuries ago, was 
fashioned for the atheism of the heart. 




'* But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the 
word which by the gospel is preached unto you." — i Peter i : 25. 

Both those who applaud and those who deplore 
it, will do well to remember that the mental rest- 
lessness of the present day is no new thing under 
the sun. If you will turn back nineteen hundred 
years, you will hear the apostle Paul exhorting 
his spiritual son in these words : ** Avoid opposi- 
tions of science, falsely so-called, which some pro- 
fessing have erred from the faith." Is not this a 
very good photograph of many a twentieth-century 
man, who in gaining a little science has lost all his 
religion ? Behold also the same fact illustrated in 
one of the freshest crazes of our day. This cult, 
which announces itself as the incorporated unity 
of science and religion, is shown to be very near of 
kin to a strange first-century species, for we hear 
the same great apostle warning against a certain 
class of leaders and teachers in these words : 
" For of this sort are they which creep into houses, 

and lead captive silly women." Surely the adjec- 



tive here is not an inapt description of those in 
our day who accept as Christian Science a jumble 
that ignores the imperatives of both the great realms 
whose names are invoked. I may add par- 
enthetically in passing, that the only reason, 
doubtless, why the apostle made this character- 
ization of one sex only, was because the leisure 
class was nonexistent among those to whom he 
wrote, and that the men of that day avoided the 
fate of some of their twentieth-century brothers 
by being out at their daily tasks, saved, as so 
many have been since that far-away time, by the 
blessed necessity of work. 

Then, if you look back into history as far as 
unto Athen's pride and Athen's glory, you will 
discover a large class who " spend their time in 
nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some 
new thing." Now beyond question this is an ac- 
curate description of a certain type of intellectual 
life which in our day both delights and distresses 
the souls of the children of men. If, therefore, the 
passion or itching for novelty is a proof of intel- 
lectuality, then the first century was intellectual as 
truly as the twentieth, and if this craze is the con- 
dition and the sign of progress, then those who lived 
in Paul's day share with us the glory of furnishing 
this condition and of lifting up this sign. So I say 


unto you who are holding on to faith with a sad 
and almost despairing courage, because of the 
mental restlessness round about you, that this is no 
new thing upon which you look ; no new power of 
temptation that you feel ; neither does it betoken a 
spiritual cataclysm or the end of faith in the earth. 
I also say unto you who are congratulating 
yourselves upon your participation in the present 
skepticism, as if it were the crown of earth's last 
and opening century, that the soil of every gener- 
ation beneath your feet is full of the dust of those 
who, while in human form, were " ever learning, 
and never able to come to the knowledge of the 
truth." There has not been in the past centuries 
such a wonderful unlikeness between the spirit of 
earth's different days, the spirit that has breathed 
upon human hearts and seduced human lives. 
There are more minds of the skeptical type than 
ever before, but this is only because there are 
more people in the world. The proportion of 
restless minds and unbelieving souls, I apprehend, 
has not greatly changed. 

But whatever the spirit of the day, the responsi- 
bility of the individual remains, for it is the spirit 
of a man, and not of a day, that passes forward 
unto judgment. If this man gulps down whatever 
is offered him, he may swallow poison whether in 


the first or twentieth century. If he dances to 
whatever tune is played, he may dance into hell 
from the floor of any century or of any day. 

I ask your attention to some of the false assump- 
tions bound up within the craze for novelty in the 
spiritual realm — a craze, let me add, as old as 
Athens and as young as Buffalo. 

I. The first of these assumptions is this : Modern 
progress has discredited the old things of Chris- 
tian faith. 

The progress of our world within the last fifty 
years is unspeakably marvelous. No human 
tongue can overspeak or overpraise it. If only 
we are careful to note the field in which it has 
brought forth its wonders, we shall all do well to 
join most enthusiastically with those who magnify 
and glorify the present day. But this careful 
marking of the field of modern-day wonders has 
not always been done. From progress in one or 
many directions, by a non sequitur progress in 
every direction has been inferred. So it has 
happened that even in the spiritual realm, the cry 
of progress has been taken up and reechoed until 
many have actually come to believe that this prog- 
ress has sounded the death knell of all the old 
things of Christian faith. But indeed nothing is 
plainer than that this marvelous and worthily 


vaunted progress has not touched one of these 

Let me prove this to you by a very simple 
illustration. Suppose that to-day you should 
be called to the bedside of a dying man. Let 
churches and creeds and all formal religion 
now drop out of sight. Let the case be simply 
this. The dying man is a friend of yours, whom 
you would kindly and faithfully serve. Now 
as you stand in the shadows of the solemn hour, 
with his hungry, appealing eyes upon you, what 
new word of twentieth-century truth, what new 
watchword of twentieth-century origin, have you 
for your passing friend ? Will you tell him that 
he is but meeting the inevitable ? Ah ! he knows 
this without your saying it, and besides, any 
heathen philosopher, thousands of years ago, could 
have told him this much. Will you go further 
and tell him that the power in whose hands he 
lies is a power of love ? Is this all you have for 
your friend ? Why, a John and a Paul centuries 
ago were able to say this much and often did say 
it. Will you go still further and say unto your 
friend, " There is a divine Saviour who will walk 
with you through the dark valley " ? Why, David, 
centuries before the Christ, could and did say as 
much as that. Where then is the proof of progress 


in the spiritual realm, if it has nothing new to offer, 
if it is silent in the hour when human love would 
fain serve human extremity? 

Or let the form of the illustration be a little 
changed. Suppose that with the deepening shad- 
ows of this holy day the angel of death should 
suddenly appear beckoning to you. I will make 
the most favorable supposition of your case. 
You have, say, lived in a circle of the world's 
most advanced thought. You have heard and read 
much learnedly critical of the old faith, and elo- 
quently extolling the new and broader day unto 
which humanity has come. As you have listened 
to their words of glorification and repudiation, 
you have often said within your heart — some- 
times with your lips — " Yes, it is a new and won- 
derful day ! The old things of Christian faith 
have fled away before the rising and spreading 
light !" 

So you have lived and imagined and spoken. 
Now, you and this much glorified day of prog- 
ress meet in what is to you an hour of sorest 
need, when you feel the damp dews gathering on 
your brow, and the human heart fainting within 
your breast. Turn now to your new and broad 
day of light to receive from its hand its especial 
gift unto your necessity ! 


What is this gift ? A new God ? No. A new 
map of the death-valley ? No. A new vision of 
the land immortal ? No. A new watchword to 
ring out cheer and courage in the black darkness 
that is falling upon you ? No. What is then the 
gift of the much glorified progress unto you who 
have so often spoken its praises ? An interro- 
gation point — illuminated it may be by the hand 
of culture — but still only an interrogation point. 
This is the gift of modern progress unto your 
sore need, this is the unction with which she 
runs unto you — a dying man. If you were 
called upon to die to-day, you would have 
to die as the brute, without faith and without 
thought, or you would be obliged to pillow 
your fainting spirit upon the old truths of the 
old Bible — upon the Father whom Jesus taught 
in the first century, upon the grace of that 
Saviour whose cross is nineteen hundred years 

Where then is the glory or the fact of modern 
progress in the spiritual realm, if it has nothing 
new in the way of knowledge, or comfort, or 
courage, or cheer for a man in the hour of his 
supremest need ? 

Yet human voices all about us go on shout- 
ing progress, as if all the old things of religion 


had been discredited and abolished. I pray 
you in this hour put your fingers in your ears, 
shut out the noisy and popular shouts of hu- 
manity's progress long enough to read and to 
learn the exact truth of the case. There has 
been no progress in the spiritual realm, save that 
of word-emphasis. Not a light of all the thou- 
sands that sparkled in the great Columbian Expo- 
sition threw down a single new ray upon the path 
by which a man goes out of this world. There 
was not in all that forest of inventions a single 
one to explain life, to set forth God, to make soft 
the bed of death. Among all the exhibits by 
which the French Capital celebrated the incoming 
of the twentieth century, there was not one from 
that world into which human lives are pouring at 
the rate of one hundred thousand with every 
passing day. In the third great Exposition, 
the rainbow city — fair as the new Jerusalem de- 
scending out of heaven, which, as if at the wand 
of some supernal power, sprang into illumined 
and inimitable beauty upon the shores of Lake 
Erie — the record was the same. Upon life, spirit, 
God, the world to come, nothing new — no new ex- 
hibit. The secret and the spirit of Niagara blos- 
somed into ten thousand times ten thousand 
lights, but the spirit and the secret of that world 


unto which sweep the millions of earth made no 
new showing of themselves. 

The old things of religion, discredited, super- 
seded, abolished ! Why, not one of them has 
been touched ! About God and soul-life, about 
the first great cause and the end which waits ; 
about evil, its entrance into the world and 
its future history; concerning Jesus Christ and 
His proffered aid to man ; concerning the future 
life and the condition of human immortality — 
about all these things we know no more than did 
the disciples of Paul nineteen hundred years ago. 
What Macaulay wrote years ago still remains 
true — a first-century man with a Bible in his hand 
is the equal of the nineteenth-century man, so far 
as spiritual knowledge is concerned. All the 
logomachies that have raged round religion's 
great verities have left them just where they were 
on the day that the Isle of Patmos saw the 
venerable seer affix the memorable seal. There 
have been speculations numberless, but no new 
discoveries ; an endless succession of discussion 
but no new knowledge. The intuition of God, 
the origin and destiny of man, the vision of the 
Christ, the consciousness of sin, the intimation 
of immortality — these fundamentals remain as 
they were in the days of Paul, and the assump- 


tion that modern progress has invahdated them, 
or brought in any substitute for them, is a great 
delusion wrought into the pride and folly of the 
Athenian mind. 

II. A second false assumption wrought into 
the craze for spiritual novelty is this : Mental 
restlessness is in itself so much progress. 

There are many who seem to think that just be- 
cause they have cut loose from the old anchorage 
of faith, therefore they have been thinking, and 
thinking to a purpose. But is this true ? Is mo- 
tion necessarily progress ? Is activity necessarily 
profitable activity ? Is drifting the same as mak- 
ing a voyage ? Haul up the anchor, cut the hawser, 
and the vessel will begin to move, it is true. 
But what of this? Such a vessel, as likely as 
not, will whirl round and round in an eddy of 
wave and foam ; she will float out with the tide or 
in with the tide ; but in either case there is no 
progress, nothing but an idle swash and profitless 
churning of the waters. 

And the moral world holds many such crafts 
within it. Derelicts they are, going nowhere 
themselves and only endangering the progress of 
the soul that is seeking some desired haven. 
Lift a wagon wheel from the ground and you 
may spin it round and round, but it will go no 


whither. It may revolve with great demonstra- 
tion, and startle the onlookers with the smoke of 
its heated axle, but all this means only so much 
useless wear and tear. There is in it all neither 
profit nor promise. So in the spiritual world, 
when human minds are lifted up from the solid 
ground of revealed truth. They may make a 
great whirring with their *' Lo ! here, lo ! there !" 
but all the same they will make no progress. Air 
plants they are, the victims of self-levitation, feeding 
upon the thin nutriment of their own guesses; 
windmills beating the air exhaled from their own 
lungs; and their record in our day and in all days 
makes it very clear that mental activity is not 
necessarily profitable activity, that mental drifting 
is not one and the same thing with spiritual 

Suppose a man has closed or thrown away the 
Bible, or that under the influence of modern criti- 
cism has taken it down from its high and solitary 
preeminence. But the Bible did not invent sin, or 
sorrow, or suffering, or death, and after it has 
been discarded these things will remain, and the 
soul of man will still need some authoritative 
voice upon them. Say that a human hand has put 
away the Christ; but still the human life remains 
consciously weak, with darkness all around it and 


greater darkness before it. Will not this life need 
some hope, some helper to take the place of the 
rejected Saviour ? 

No, no ! Mental restlessness, spiritual drifting,— 
these are not necessarily so much progress. Be- 
cause the old has been cast away, this does not 
mean that something better has been found to 
take its place, and the assumption that it does is 
a baleful error hiding within the glorified inertia 
of the Athenian mind. 

III. A third false assumption bound up in the 
passion for spiritual novelty is this : Skepticism is 
the highest form of intellectual life. The word 
culture — spelled with a big C — has proved itself 
in our day and in all days a veritable Moloch 
unto which many poor souls have passed both the 
intuitions of their spirits and the precious word 
of God which was within their hands. I can- 
not think that I overstate the truth when I 
add, that the sensational demonstration that at- 
tends upon skepticism has had something to do 
in bringing about this strange and sad state of 
things. We live, you know, in a newspaper day. 
The world has had its age of stone, and of brass, 
and now it has its newspaper day — also one of 
brass. You well know what prominence this 
species of world activity gives to the unusual, the 


abnormal. One mad dog running down the street, 
snapping at everything in its way, is worth more 
to a newspaper than a hundred beautiful and noble 
specimens of the same species that are not rabid. 
One runaway horse, smashing things as he goes, 
is preferred above the thousands of the gentle 
type, which in the beauty and quietness of useful 
service do the work of the whole city. So one 
professor, kicking over the traces and threatening 
the safety of the whole theological establishment, 
is given larger place in the daily press than all 
the remaining members of the Faculty. 

This sure expectation of fame, it cannot well 
be doubted, has seduced a few at the front, and 
these have drawn after them a large crowd of 
the uneducated, the unstable, and the irreverent, 
who cease not to split their throats with the cry, 
" Bravo ! bravo ! great is he that cometh in the 
name of the critic. What a scholar is this who is 
not afraid to lay his hands upon that which all 
the Christian centuries have regarded as sacred ! 
No back number this one, but an up-to-date man." 

So the professor's egoism is gratified, and so 
there flock to hear the preacher those who would 
not go near him were he emphasizing instead of 
criticizing the Bible. So it has come to pass 
that you cannot throw a stone to-day without 


hitting some one, now an editor, now a pro- 
fessor, and now a preacher, whom the crowd of 
the Adullamites have canonized for his free and 
irreverent handhng of the old things of faith and 

But criticism is always easy. Destruction is a 
much simpler matter than construction. It took 
a genius to rear the Ephesian dome, but any 
fool could apply the torch to it. Rejection, too, 
is not necessarily the sign of strength. When 
the stomach throws up its food, this is not al- 
ways because it is strong, but as often because 
it is weak. Neither is rejection always the sign 
of benevolence. A soured, or envious, or cynical 
soul, under the guise of liberality and public ser- 
vice, may do the throwing out here. Only a few 
great souls — you can count them on your fingers 
— have ever constructed any faith for mankind, 
but the woods and the plains are full of com- 
moners, who have snapped at, and carped at, and 
spit upon the priceless treasures of the soul's inspi- 
ration and the soul's hope. Only a small minority 
of the world's millions have endured as seeing Him 
who is invisible, but the crust of the earth is 
thick with the ashes, and the surface of the earth is 
black with the shadows, of those who have smirked 
and grinned in the face of supernal reality, who, as 


the browsing ox upon the glories of the sunset 
sky, have turned their superciHous gaze upon the 
immensities and the eternities, only to say, " I 
see nothing there — there is nothing there." Be- 
lieve me, my fellow-men, it is the easiest thing in 
the world to let go of supersensual realities. The 
world laughs at the mental grasp here — sin be- 
numbs the fingers and the devil unclasps them. 
There are few of the modern world's millionaires 
who remain humble and spiritual ; there is not a 
large proportion of politicians who see in the 
Ten Commandments anything more than an iri- 
descent dream : there is not a surprisingly large 
number of the children of leisure, of fashion, and 
of wealth who walk before God in truth and 
purity and simplicity. No ! such faith calls for 
ceaseless vigilance : for a strenuous denial of the 
lower forms of appetite and self-will, for unfail- 
ing spiritual aspiration, and the assumption that 
the inertia of the human mind that spends all 
its time in hearing or in telling some new thing 
is a sure sign of mental strength and high cul- 
ture is one of the silliest delusions that the father 
of lies has ever palmed off upon a human soul, 
or with which he has ever befogged an earth- 
born day. 

IV. But there Is a fourth false assumption that 


hides within the craze for novelty in the spiritual 
realm, to which, in closing, I must briefly advert. 
It is this : Man has so changed, the world has so 
changed as to render the word of the old gos- 
pel insufficient, inapplicable, and obsolete. 

The constituent thought here is, that Jesus did 
not anticipate the character and extent of modern 
progress. When He spoke to the world He did 
not anticipate the scientific development that was 
to come : did not foresee the day when men 
would wing their words and propel their bodies 
with the lightning of heaven : had no vision of 
the coming man who was to be the possessor 
of two hundred millions of dollars : had no pre- 
vision of the day of universal education, of the 
multiform discoveries and the new knowledge 
which were to crown in glory the twentieth cen- 
tury. He spoke a word true enough and good 
enough for the then little world of man — but for 
the new and broader day unto which humanity 
has come, there must be a new and a broader 

This, you will note, is a very bold assumption. 
It is nothing less than to charge Jesus the Christ 
with provincialism ; to affirm that He was the 
creature of the day in which He lived, not 
broader than this day, not seeing beyond it. 


But bold as the insinuation is, it is as fallacious 
as it is bold. 

Man has not so greatly changed since the day 
of Jesus and of Paul. Even his body has not 
come unto any novelty of life-function. The cir- 
culation of the blood, the process of digestion, the 
action of the nervous system, these are exactly 
what they were nineteen centuries ago. The hu- 
man body now takes its food from a table very 
unlike that which was spread in the first century, 
but its nourishment and growth are by the same 
laws, maturity comes in the same manner, and 
death follows in the same old way. In the spir- 
itual man also there has been no deep or radical 

Take the last and most characteristic product 
here — the man of the twentieth century. A thor- 
ough-going man of the world let him be, a multi- 
millionaire, if you please, member of a dozen clubs 
and of a hundred corporations, owner of a rail- 
road that spans a continent and of a steamship 
line that bridges the great ocean, with material 
relations and civic responsibilities and commu- 
nal functions of which the first century never 
dreamed ! As you look upon this wonderful 
product of to-day, maybe you are ready to ex- 
claim : " What a different being from the simple 


fisherman, from the rude shepherd to whom 
Jesus spoke and with whom Jesus consorted ! 
The old gospel will not do for this new man." 
But in reality the difference that amazes you 
here is only in accidentals, only in evanescent 
externals, only in the man's clothes, whether these 
clothes be the garments that cover his body, or 
the palace in which he lives, or the multitudinous 
trappings of sense that jingle along his earthly 
pathway. In a single hour all these distinguish- 
ing accidents shall drop from the twentieth-century 
life, and it will show itself unto the world and 
unto the universe as a weak, suffering, dying man! 
Only this and nothing more. Only this, and in 
this ultimate reduction and final analysis, the won- 
derful product of earth's last day will reproduce 
without the change of a single feature the man of 
the first century. He will draw out of a room of 
greater money value than a whole province of 
Palestine in Jesus' day, but he will draw out of 
this palatial environment in as simple a form, as 
empty-handed, as naked, as helpless as twenty 
centuries ago the human life drew out of the 
shepherd's tent or the fisherman's hut. How 
superficial, how foolish then the assumption that 
this modern twentieth-century conglomerate, in 
the center of which is the unchanged human 


spirit, needs any new word, any new gospel from 
the unchanging God ! As if there must be a new 
evangel for the larger pile of goods ; for the longer 
bank account ; for the railway ; for the steamship 
line ! As if these things were a part of the man ! 

Receive in conclusion, I pray you, these two 
inferential and applicatory thoughts. 

First, the pitiableness of the hysteric craze for 
spiritual novelty. Pitiable for two reasons. First, 
because it is the attempt of the human intellect, 
usurping the prerogatives of intuition and of reve- 
lation, to make discovery in a realm which is 
hopelessly beyond its reach. The man might as 
well say, *' I am looking into the fauna and flora 
of Neptune," as to say " I am investigating the 
problems of evil, of spirit, of God, of immortality." 
Here also professing himself to be wise, the man 
quickly becomes, and most sadly, a fool. 

Pitiable also is this craze, for it is the denial to 
the poor human heart amid the contradictions, 
and troubles, and sorrows of the present life, of the 
comfort and inspiration of accepted and unchang- 
ing truth. 

The second application of this whole subject 
is this : Reason's high obligation and faith's fine 

Our day confuses man's temporal functions 


with his immortal life. It is as if into the pres- 
ence of the sick man there should gather a com- 
pany of his friends to discuss what uniform he 
shall wear, what business he shall take up, what 
social or civic responsibilities he shall assume — 
and in the meantime the man is dying ! So those 
who are wise above that which is written, " the 
foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and 
have seen nothing," gather themselves into the 
spiritual sanctuary to discuss social economics ; 
to formulate theories concerning spiritual myster- 
ies ; to guess at what the world's crowd shall be 
and do ! And this while the human life through 
sorrow, through suffering, and through death is 
moving forward unto judgment ! 

There is but one great question that spiritual 
truth needs to answer in time's day, and this is 
the redemption, the safety of time's one great 
entity — the individual man. This secured, earth 
will be cared for, and heaven will not lose its own. 
The truth which conditions this great issue has 
been given unto the world, and is as unchanging 
as the immutable God or His eternal throne : 
** This is life eternal, to know Thee, the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast 

" The word of the Lord endureth forever. And 


this is the word which by the gospel is preached 
unto you." 

My fellow-men, you who are immortal citizens 
of the kingdom of God, if you have any respect 
for yourselves, for your worthiness and your dig- 
nity; if you have any reverence for the beauty 
and majesty and glory of the infinite realm, I 
beseech you, that with a beautiful contempt you 
spurn from you the foolish and ephemeral spiritual 
novelties of the Athenian or the Yankee mind, 
and bow with all reverence in the presence of the 
unchanging word that conditions the redemption 
of man and the regeneration of the world. So 
preserving both self-respect and faith in Him 
who is the God of things as they are, through 
Him who is time's apocalypse of this reality, you 
shall have cause to render thankful praises while 
thought or being lasts or immortality endures. 






"And Jacob was left alone ; and there wrestled a man with him 
until the breaking of the day." — Gen. xxxii : 24, 

Jacob was a smart, shrewd, successful man. If 
there had been newspapers in that far-off day, he 
would have been referred to as our rising young 
townsman, our eminent citizen. He was smart 
enough, with the aid of his wily mother, to entrap 
and to rob his brother Esau, and when driven 
from home by this sharp practice he was shrewd 
enough to so manage things as to increase his 
own holdings at the expense of his trusting and 
generous uncle. And now with all the property 
that he had accumulated while in residence with 
this uncle — with all his oxen and asses and flocks, 
with his men-servants and women-servants — he 
turns his face toward his old home, turns from the 
scenes of his business success and fortune-getting, 
to run into the hour which should thoroughly 
sift his inward life, which should make him afraid 
and ashamed of that which he had come to regard 
as his success, his fortune, and his glory. 



Let us note how this crucial hour breaks upon 
the head of such a Hfe : First of all, in the revela- 
tion of the reality, the nearness, the overwhelming 
importance of an unseen world to which the 
human life most truly and everlastingly belongs. 
We live upon the rounded surface of a flying ball, 
out from which in any direction space sweeps 
away in distances unmeasured and unmeasurable. 
In a vast universe, to which even imagination can 
set no bounds, is plunged and wheels forward the 
world upon which we have our home and all that 
we call ours. This rimless reservoir, these depths, 
these heights, these stretches of space are but 
as vacancy to many of the hours of the human 
life. Men see nothing in them ; they feel nothing 
from them. The channels of the senses flood the 
mind and fill the heart, and outside of the territory 
which these drain the human life penetrates not 
at all. 

The sensuous spirit, the fleshly life, walks in the 
presence of the vast infinite, and knows no con- 
nection with it. Its world, its universe, is the 
office, the shop, the home. The pleasure which 
allures, the gain which is sought, the ambition 
which dominates — the human lives that pass and 
repass, that laugh and cry, that suffer and die — 
this is reality, this is the all to many an hour of 


the human life. Ask the man in such an hour 
what he sees in yonder depths, and your answer 
shall be a stare, or a sneer, or a pitying smile. 
Yes ! but over the head of this sensuous life may 
at any time break an hour which shall bring the 
sentient, thrilling spirit into vital connection with 
that which now seems emptiness and void. A few 
hours ago his family, his servants, his cattle seemed 
to Jacob to fill the spaces by Jabbok's ford. Now 
these all are gone, and yet they leave not emptiness 
behind them. There is that remaining with which 
Jacob may have communion — with which he may, 
must, wrestle. Jabbok's ford is still tenanted. So 
sweep away from the world-absorbed soul its 
environment of the material, so isolate the sensu- 
ous spirit, and out of the desert of sense so created 
reality shall speak unto the human life, and unseen 
Being hold mysterious communion with the soli- 
tary human spirit. 

The hour of danger even more surely and 
more vividly than the hour of loneliness makes 
the same revelation. Behold the supplanter by 
Jabbok's ford ! It is an hour in which everything 
that he holds dear — the safety of his family, the 
lives of his dependents, the fruit of twenty years 
of toil — all are at stake. Suddenly, as the sand- 
cloud of the desert rises up in the path of the 


caravan, there is lifted up before Jacob the wrath- 
ful cloud of four hundred armed men, and in the 
midst of this cloud, and glaring out upon him from 
its blackness, the face of his wronged brother 
Esau. What shall be the result ? Shall the angry- 
cloud tear a path of ruin through his possessions ? 
Shall a cruel death sweep from before his very- 
eyes the forms of his loved ones ? The hour is 
critical and the smart and successful man trembles 
before it. No sooner is he alone in the presence 
of his danger than the void about him grows 
tremulous, palpitating with life, and he himself is 
wrestling with that which to a lighter hour had 
been vacancy and nothingness. So ever does the 
hour of sudden and alarming peril breathe life 
into the spaces round about the human spirit. It 
strikes reality into emptiness ; form into void ; 
and gives life unto that which an hour before 
was a solitude. 

It was but a moment ago when the man upon the 
top of the ascending wall saw nothing but bricks 
and mortar and human forms, heard nothing but 
the shouts of the workmen, the ring of the trowels, 
and the creaking of the derrick, when suddenly, 
by the slip of his foot he falls, and between the 
scaffold and the ground all this sense world dis- 
appears, and an unseen world becomes real and 


living, the only real and living world before the 
eyes of the falling man. A single step has 
taken him out of one world into another! A 
moment of peril has made vacancy alive, con- 
verted void into fullness, nothingness into the 
only reality ! 

The lights flash from the cabin, and music's 
sweet sounds fill all its spaces. Here and there, 
in groups of two and three, the passengers prom- 
enade the deck. Ask these moving forms con- 
cerning reality ! Old ocean's depths, the solid 
vessel upon which they stand, yonder distant shore 
and waiting friends — these things fill human minds, 
these things move human hearts. 

Interrogate these moving forms. What of 
this vast concave that arches you in, these en- 
veloping spaces through which you drive onward ? 
Empty stretches, vacancy, nothingness. So comes 
your answer from the heart of the sense-life. But 
hark ! The bell rings out the note of danger ! 
There is a sudden and terrible crash. The ship 
reels backward, and through the awful gash of 
the collision the black waters are pouring ! What 
now, where now, is reality ? Ah ! yonder solid 
shore, and waiting friends, and ocean's sweeping 
waves, and iron rib, and oaken plank are seen, are 
felt no longer, and human spirits are speaking 


into, actually praying into that which a half-hour 
ago was emptiness and void. 

So the hour of sudden danger waves its wand 
over vacancy, and forthwith this vacancy lives and 
is all that does live to the consciousness of the 
changed man, and the vision of the thrilled human 
spirit. When peril hangs above it, Jabbok's soli- 
tude begins to breathe, to assume form, and the 
lonely Jacob, before he is aware, is wrestling 
with it. 

Oh ! ye who along what ye call your solid streets, 
and underneath the shadow of your unyielding 
brick and granite fronts, and before your iron 
safes, do daily move and stand and bow ; Oh ! 
ye who imagine yourselves thus dealing with the 
only realities of life — I beg you now to stop and 
remember how soon all these things may become 
as airy nothings before your changed vision. To- 
day stop to remember how quickly all reality may 
be transferred to the realm of the invisible, filled 
with that which to your present, shallow, sensuous 
hour seems only so much empty space. 

But advancing a step, let me say that the 
crucial hour breaks upon the sensuous human life 
in the revelation of a Power hitherto unseen and 
unfelt — a Power who is King of the invisible 
realm. Lord and Judge of the human soul. 


It is difficult to define personality in so many 
words. Yet each of us knows what it means, 
understands well enough how it is separated from 
being of any other kind. Though the infant life 
lies a helpless and half-formed thing in the 
mother's arms, yet you start not back at the 
sound of your voice, when to this humble, almost 
inanimate, existence you apply the personal pro- 
noun. You say of the unmoving, scarcely breath- 
ing, life, he, she, and when in words to which you 
expect no reply you make the direct address it is 
still in the form and by means of the same per- 
sonal pronoun. But so you do not address 
Niagara, or the shining star above your head, or 
the mighty ocean, or the beautiful rose. To none 
of these do you say, " Thou," as if an answer 
might come from it to you. So in simplest defi- 
nition personality is that which we address with 
the use of the personal pronoun. It is life of our 
kind — that which may answer back to our voice 
— a thinking, feeling entity, separated from all 
other being by the individual consciousness and 
presided over by the mysterious force of the free 
and self-directing will. 

And in this form, always and for evermore, does 
the crucial hour of the sense, life photograph the 
reality of the unseen world. With no wild, un- 


answering law, with no nameless unpersonal force 
did Jacob wrestle by Jabbok's ford. Throughout 
that long eventful night, throughout all the hours 
of that mysterious and fateful conflict, it was per- 
son meeting with person. " There wrestled a 
man with him until the breaking of the day." 

" He said unto him. What is thy name ?" " Jacob 
asked him, and said. Tell me, I pray thee, thy 
name." Thy name — thy name, so the wrestlers 
spoke, so they asked of each other. Thou, me — 
a meeting of persons, a battle of individual and 
independent wills, a conflict of personal forces the 
night through. 

So ever is it in the crucial hour that breaks 
over the head of the sense life. 

The house is deathly still, and stealing out of 
the room in which the mute forms of the broken 
family circle sit together, you softly climb the 
stairs and stand before the dead body of your 
boy. If now you kneel by the side of the un- 
moving form, — and in such an hour the unseen 
world will be so real to you and so near that you 
will instinctively do this — if so you bow in wor- 
ship, the words of your heart will form themselves 
in no address to impersonal law or force. By the 
side of your dead child, before such an altar, you 
will not speak to say, you will not cry out : " Oh, 


stream of tendency, have pity upon me. Oh, 
power that makes for righteousness, comfort me ! 
Oh, Great First Cause, give me strength for my 
weakness, Hght for my darkness and peace for 
my aching heart." Not so will your soul speak in 
such a presence and in such an hour, but instinc- 
tively it will break forth in the cry, " O God, 
have pity, have pity. I did not recognize the 
Christ Child in the one whom Thou didst send 
until Thou hadst withdrawn Thy gift. Forgive, 
forgive my blindness, my earthliness, my brutish 
sensuousness, for now my heart aches with a 
measureless grief, and I am Thy child." 

So also in the hour of danger. Between the 
masthead and the deck, between the crashing in 
of the bullet and the outspeeding of the life, it is 
unto a person that the human life cries out. All 
hours of deepest conflict, all hours of danger, of 
sorrow, and of loss, all hours that break in sifting 
power upon the head of the sense-life show the 
reality of the unseen world unto the human spirit 
in the form of a person. The common, the in- 
stinctive ejaculation of the human soul the world 
over and time through in critical and decisive 
hours is in the words, " O my God !" 

Are not such hours as these as profitable 
for instruction in spiritual mystery; are they not 


as reliable in their teaching as are the hours of 
mirthful jollity, or boastful pride, or over- weening 
smartness, or festering sin ? Nay, are they not 
better? Do they not stand nearer to, do they 
not see deeper into, do not they give truer voice, 
fuller expression to the unchanging and infinite 

What then, do you ask, shall be said of those 
who from out the study, the laboratory, and the 
philosophical hall give out periphrastic and 
euphemistic abstractions to take the place of this 
old concrete word, " God " ? This, I think, must be 
said first of all. Skillful rhetoricians are these 
men, who under the inspiration of literary taste 
would fain produce some new and shining 
phrases ; effeminate sons of sturdy fathers often 
assiduously devoting themselves to the high 
potencies of a spiritual homeopathy ; men play- 
ing with phrases; intoxicated with a sense of their 
own originality ; quite beside their true selves ; 
artificial, childishly vain — unspiritual. No doubt 
it is true that the class whose work it is to put 
together words for the pages of the review, or for 
the almost equally ephemeral page of the book, 
do tire of the old nomenclature. There is, as the 
great essayist, Foster, pointed out long ago, an 
aversion on the part of men of literary taste to 


evangelical religion and if to the thing itself, then 
of course and also an aversion to the stereotyped 
phrases by which it is commonly expressed. 
Then coupled with this aversion is a strange liking 
for abstract generalities. These commit the writer 
to nothing, and they have on account of their 
very indistinctness an impressive echo that is 
quite pleasing to the literary and philosophical 
ear. Even Carlyle — rugged prophet as he was — 
falls a victim to the power of this seduction, and 
on his pages are found such sonorous phrases as 
the " Silences," the " Immensities," the " Infinities," 
the " Eternities." But at the best, even taking in 
their magniloquent echoes, these phrases are not 
significant generalizations. At their best they are 
only glittering generalities, which the human life 
in its deeper hours puts from it, even as the starv- 
ing man might thrust from him shining beads 
and colored glass, crying out, ** What need have 
I of such paltry things as these ! " 

Behold this written out in letters of light and 
fire in countless human experiences. The book 
rests, dust-covered, on the library shelf; the yellow 
pages of the magazine are going through the mill 
again, while the author of them both is lying 
upon the bed of his solitary and judging hour — 

his heart sobbing out the words, ** My God ! My 


God !" The magazine in the rag-picker's bag, the 
book forgotten, and the man piteously crying out 
unto that which he has proved again and again 
can neither hear nor answer ! 

By the side of Jabbok's ford, underneath the 
black cloud of danger, at the end of its power, 
revealed unto itself, the solitary human spirit calls 
not unto the Silences or the Eternities, wrestles 
not with cause, or law, or potency. In the crucial 
judging, sifting hour, when the unseen becomes 
real and visible unto the human life, it ever strikes 
itself into the form of a person, and for this per- 
sonal Entity there is no other name so good as the 
old name God — the Infinite One — the Father 
who is in heaven. Not only so, not only is there 
no other word so good as this one, but this is also 
true in the deep and trying hour, when the hu- 
man spirit, emancipated from the shallow and 
make-believe conventions of earth, feels itself face 
to face with Everlasting Reality, it never thinks 
of naming this Reality by any other name than 
religion's old word, God. 

But again let me ask you to observe that 
the hour which sifts the sensuous life breaks upon 
the head of this life in the exposure of its false 
beauty, in the withering of its false strength, and 
in the blotting out of its false glory. 


"And there wrestled a Man with Jacob until 
the breaking of the day. And He touched the 
hollow of his thigh, and Jacob's thigh was out 
of joint as he wrestled with Him." 

Long years before this, in their wrestling match, 
Jacob was able to throw his brother Esau. In his 
conflict with Laban also he came off victorious. 
In both of these encounters he won, as our world 
uses this word. But now, at length, he has come 
unto an hour when the glory of these successes 
withers as the gorgeous sunflower might wither 
under the breath of the blast furnace : when the 
heretofore winning Jacob beholds his glory as so 
much shame and all his meretricious strength in 
a moment converted into unbeautiful and helpless 
weakness. No chance for supplanting here. No 
opportunity for trickery here. No possibility of 
going in to win upon the low qualities of smart- 
ness and shrewdness and cunning. The very 
qualities that before had been his confidence and 
his success are now his weakness and his fear. 

So, unto the hour of scorching and shriveling, 
moves every life of sense, every life that has not 
by thought and purpose penetrated unto that 
within the veil, every life that has failed to con- 
nect its progress, its success and its hope with the 
everlasting principle of the Divine righteousness. 


Take the wild Indian of the wigwam, and set 
him in the Philosophical Hall : how helpless he 
seems ! how pitiably deficient ! how despicably- 
deformed ! His fleetness of foot, his sharpness of 
vision, his strength of limb — all his savage glory 
are in a moment turned into the contemptible. His 
glistening beads, his gaudy feathers, his girdle of 
scalps — all these, his former crown and glory, are 
now a shame unto him. He has been lifted up 
into a light that makes a mock of these bar- 
baric ornaments. He stands judged, condemned, 
in the presence of that which is better and nobler — 
silenced and ashamed before the power of a higher 
life. At the touch of this life, his strength 
shrinks to weakness; in the presence of its su- 
perior beauty, his glory withers into shame. So 
Jacob the wily one, Jacob the supplanter, came 
into contact with divine and beauteous reality, 
and at once his strength is out of joint and such 
an exposure and such a withering await every 
human life which has not measured its success 
by the standard of the wider and deeper and 
eternal world, which is not in consciousness a 
subject of the everlasting kingdom of God. 

Imagine the red Indian before the philosophers. 
Imagine the low-browed pugilist in the salon of 
culture and beauty. Imagine the able, shrewd, 


cunning man of the world lifted up into the at- 
mosphere of holiness, into the presence of the 
throne that is always white, into the face of the 
beautiful God ! Oh, what shrinking will such an 
hour witness ! How its white light will search 
out and expose the false beauty ! How its dart- 
ing fires will scarify the brute strength and con- 
sume the shameful glory! The man has been 
shrewd, versatile, crafty unto the outer semblance 
of success, and the world has glorified his 
career. He has won in virtue of the lower qual- 
ities of his being, and he has heard himself 
praised for these, as for a great success. Now 
all at once he is plunged into an hour where all 
these qualities show rather as the debasement 
of his manhood, and all these victories as so 
many defeats of the immortal life ! Hitherto he 
has fought with his antagonists, using the weapons 
of a brutish cunning or a devilish duplicity, and 
now in a moment he faces an antagonist who is 
Light and in whom is no darkness at all. He 
has for long received the honor that cometh from 
men. His neighbors have said, " First citizen," 
and taken off their hats ; the world has cried 
" Millionaire," and bowed down ! He himself has 
come to regard his life a great success. Now 
suddenly he passes into an hour when his money 


lifts itself up as the price for which he has bar- 
tered things worth more than money, and when 
his earthly honors disclose themselves as so many 
weeds of mourning wrapped round a wizened 
and deformed spirit. 

So the hour of judgment breaks upon men ; so it 
sifts the low smartness and the unworthy success. 
Oh, what withering of the false bigness will there 
be in this hour ! Self-revealed, ashamed, self- 
contemning, the man will shrink into himself, 
and as a hunted felon dart his terrified gaze 
in every direction for the corner in which he may 
hide from the apocalypse of the worthy life and 
the true glory. 

Read once more in the incident of the text 
that the crucial hour as it breaks upon the head 
of the sensuous life holds within it the possibility 
of a new birth — the birth into a new and a higher 

Out of his mysterious wrestling Jacob comes 
limping, but he comes forth as a limping prince 
— his name no longer Jacob, the supplanter, but 
Israel, spiritual potentate in the kingdom of 
God. Upon shrunken strength he leans, no 
longer smart enough to steal from his brother, or 
to circumvent his uncle, but all this shrinking 
is of the false bigness, and it is into a weak- 


ness, which from the higher level shows as 
strength. At last Jacob is a true man, at last 
his life is real. All artifice, all sham, all duplic- 
ity, all low cunning have disappeared, consumed 
by the fire of that awful and glorious hour in 
which he met with God. Into this hour Jacob 
went a smart, shrewd, successful commoner, and 
out of it he comes a true, fair, nobleman. Pros- 
trate in the darkness at Jabbok's ford — conquered 
by the might of his loving Antagonist — he has 
heard the voice of this same Antagonist saying 
unto him, " Stand up, Sir Knight," and he has 
arisen into place and honor and glory in the 
family of the great King. Forth from his cru- 
cial hour he comes limping — but with a royal 

So our world of sham and unreality is full of 
princes, whose finest decoration is their limping 
gait. Their outward life has been maimed, but 
their inward life has been ennobled. On shrunken 
sinew walk they for the remainder of their earthly 
days, but from the high table land of immortality 
God and angels behold in their gait the carriage 
of the Prince. Into the dark night of fear and of 
loss, into the darker hour of sorrow and bereave- 
ment they have gone, and, after long wrestling 
hours with the living and the true One, they 


themselves have come forth true, and ahve with 
the life of God. The sifting hour of the deep 
experience has smitten them down into the con- 
sciousness of weakness, into the consciousness 
of shame, but their consternation and their suffer- 
ing have been the travail pains of a new birth. 
Unto each one of them also has the great King 
spoken to say, "Stand up. Sir Knight," and they 
have stood up — out of their low smartness, 
out of their shrewd self-seeking, out of their 
self-complacency, out of the mire of their suc- 
cess — stood up new men and true ! Oh, ye who 
have so won, even through your defeat, re- 
joice in this defeat. Oh, ye who have wrestled 
in the dark hours unto your utter exhaustion, 
give thanks for the surrender that was forced 
upon you ! Oh, ye who with limping gait and 
straitened outward life walk forward unto the 
eternities, rejoice in this, that the inward life 
has been purified, that the spirit has been en- 
nobled, and that in God's sight ye do now walk 
as princes. 

So, in outline, is drawn in the incident of the 
text, the hour which is to sift the sensuous life. 
Not altogether fascinating is it, I know, in many of 
our earthly, animal days to contemplate it. We 
are such creatures of flesh and blood, so wrapped 


round with the material and the sensuous, so 
dominated by the conventions of a disordered 
world that we shrink back from the nakedness, the 
exposure threatened by unpitying reality and the 
unveiled God. But since we do not stay here, but 
move swiftly forward into the sifting hour, it would 
seem the part of wisdom for us, as it is the gra- 
cious opportunity of the present day, to prepare 
ourselves for it. 

This can be done, first of all, by familiarizing 
ourselves with the idea of the world to come. 
Definite knowledge of facts, I know, is not possi- 
ble here, but spiritual impression is. If you 
will walk with earth's new man from the hour 
in which, as with the innocent wonder of child- 
hood, He lifts up the interrogation, " Wist ye not 
that I must be about My Father's business ?" 
until in the gloaming of His earthly day you shall 
hear Him exclaim, " I have finished the work which 
Thou gavest Me to do," you will have impressed 
upon you the fact that this is not the only world 
to which man belongs ; you will come to feel the 
powers of an unseen world — to taste these powers, 
even as the river tastes the saltness of the sea, far 
up its earthly banks. 

Then there is a second element of preparation 
within your reach, even acquaintance with God. 


Here again I know human vision is blind and hu- 
man reason is impotent. But the Divine Man 
here again is Helper and Saviour. " No man hath 
seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, 
which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath de- 
clared Him." " In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God. . . And the Word was made flesh, and 
dwelt among us." " He that hath seen Me hath 
seen the Father," 

So if you will become familiar with the Christ — 
and this is your privilege — you will not be afraid 
nor ashamed when you are swept forward into 
the presence of Him, upon whose image, manifest 
in human form, you have learned to look. 

Then there remains for you this third step of 
preparation, the keeping ever before you in 
plainest view, the true standard of the real beauty 
and the true glory of rational life. Here also 
He, who is the Head of the new humanity, waits 
upon your necessity, offers Himself unto you as 
Saviour. The world has never found any ** fault 
in Him." He is the Model, the perfect Man. He 
will show you, if you are willing to look, if you 
wish to learn what you ought to be, and what you 
may become. 

These three ideas, Christ the revealer of God, 


Christ the minister plenipotentiary from the world 
that is to come unto the world that now is, Christ 
the image of the true man — by the power of these 
great truths, faithfully used, you may fashion for 
yourself a life which no night of earth's darkness, 
and no hour of future surprise, shall have power 
to terrify, to wound, or to rob. 



" Thy judgments are a great deep." — PsALM xxxvi : 6. 

In the language of the Bible, the judgments 
of God are the purposes of the Divine will taking 
shape in human history, the self-manifestations of 
the Infinite under the conditions of time and 
space. The great deep, also another common 
Bible phrase, is the wide blue sea, mightiest of 
God's earthly creatures, that forever rolls and 
tosses within the sight of man. So by the words 
of the text are we to-day invited to take our stand 
upon its beach, and, while we look out upon the 
great ocean, learn something of Him of whom it 
is declared, " Thy way is in the sea, and Thy 
path in the great waters." 

The first and most evident attribute of the great 
deep is its unresting action, the never-ceasing 
character of its motion. At times, when spending 
the sacred day in the country, it has seemed to 
me as if the quiet of earth's sweet rest day had 
fallen upon nature as well as upon the souls of 



men. The breezes seemed to stir the leaves with 
a gentler motion. The supporting accompani- 
ment of animate life, which, like the ticking of the 
clock, is unheard in common hours, came into 
notice, and seemed a special orchestra prepared 
with tender and minor strains for the worship of 
the solemn hours, and even the chattering brooks, 
like noisy children who have been rebuked by the 
failing of a sudden calm upon their elders about 
them, seemed to moderate their joy and glide in 
softer murmurs over the ripples in their gleaming 
pathway. But the ocean knows no Sabbath, no 
rest day, no hour of peaceful quiet. It is the 
troubled sea that cannot rest. When you lay 
yourself down upon your bed at night the plash- 
ing of the waves upon the beach tells you that 
there is no sleep for them, and if you awaken at 
dead of night the deep undertone of their motion 
reports itself at once to your opening ears, and in 
the morning, as you stand upon the new-made 
beach, you read the proof that there is no period 
of inaction in the life of the great deep ; that while 
earth and man may rest and sleep, the wide blue 
sea, like its great Creator, fainteth not, neither is 
weary. Now, as summer suns have begun to 
wheel their higher circles in the heavens, throwing 
down their furnace flames upon the head of man 


and beast, there shall flock to old ocean's side a 
great company of those who for another year have 
worked and rested, have lain down and risen up, 
and the first sight that they shall look upon as 
the whitened beach lifts itself again into view will 
be the advancing and receding waves, the same 
unchanged motions, the same undiminished rest- 
lessness of the years before. Long after these 
children of the summer excursion have visited the 
ocean for the last time, and have laid themselves 
down in the silence of the sleep that knows no 
waking, the same waves that they are looking 
upon to-day shall come and go, shall hurry in 
and hurry out, shall toss and sport themselves in 
the same unceasing and unwearied movements 
with which they greeted and pleased the eyes and 
the ears of visitors of other days and of past gen- 

Turn now from the symbol unto that which is 
symbolized, from the great deep unto Him who 
holds its mighty masses in the hollow of His 
hand. The Infinite mind and will are necessarily 
and eternally active. In the realm of creation, of 
providence, and of grace there is no resting of the 
purpose of Deity, no slumbering of the judgments 
of the Almighty. Individual development, world- 
change, world-progress, the onsweeping life of 



universal nature, these all proclaim the ceaseless 
activity, the continuous self-manifestation of Him, 
who is in all, and through all, the alone fountain 
of all force, the impulse of all movement, the soul 
of all life. Consider this activity as it has been 
revealed unto the children of men in this earth 
province of the universal empire. 

Under the brooding of the Divine Spirit upon 
the formless waste, the waters that were under the 
firmament drew themselves away from the waters 
which were above the firmament — then earth's 
fire-mist grew dense, then denser still ; then light 
flashed in upon the darkness, order spoke unto 
confusion — five mighty days lifted up their finished 
work while they listened for the acceptance and 
approval of the Divine Architect, given out in the 
words, *' It is very good " ; and then a sixth day 
came — also one of the great thousand-year days 
of the Lord, — and the earth rolled forth into space 
the finished dwelling-place of man ! 

Since that far-off period of creation's power 
there has been no stopping, no rest within this 
earth of ours. By day and by night, around its 
own axis, around the sun, and with sun and planet 
and satellite forward around some far-off and mys- 
terious center, it has wheeled onward through the 
centuries — through the centuries which are only 


so many pendulum beats of its mighty life, and 
inconceivable orbit. Upon its surface, too, all is 
motion, and change, and progress. Its seasons 
flow onward in a current that knows no slacken- 
ing. Its rivers run to the sea with a music that 
never intermits. Its clouds are yearly transformed 
into bread for its millions of pilgrim-pensioners. 
Its valleys are being filled ; its mountains leveled. 
Men are multiplying upon its surface and 
within its graves. Knowledge is increasing ; civil- 
ization is advancing ; art and science are conquer- 
ing new fields and winning new trophies — the past 
is evermore forgotten, and under the superintend- 
ence of some mighty power, our earth and all that 
it contains goes spinning down the grooves of 
time, taking hold of an orbit that no human eye 
may see and no human intelligence may measure. 
So also and as wonderful are the activity and 
progress of the moral realm. In the soundless 
depths of a past eternity the purpose of redemption 
was fashioned. Time brought forth the theater 
of its manifestation, and the object of its won- 
drous power. Since the first day of human his- 
tory, where has there been shown any sign of end 
or rest ? The gloaming of the morning has ever 
been lifting itself up into the light of a more per- 
fect day. Promise has ripened into fulfillment ; 


type has been lost in anti-type. The church of a 
family has widened into the church of a nation, 
and this through centuries of discipline and of 
growth has broadened into the church of a world, 
and this world-church, with the growth of cen- 
turies in her stature, lifts herself up before us to- 
day, the dew of youth sparkling upon her beauti- 
ful garments and the light of hope flushing her 
fair face as she turns her eyes upon the misty 
stretches of humanity's mighty future. There is 
no weakening of her faith, no wasting of her power. 
Daily is she laying the hand of her guidance upon 
some new world-force, stirring the hearts of men 
with the influence of some higher motive and some 
sweeter hope ; by one incline after another lifting 
the world up unto higher and yet higher table- 
lands of thought, of purpose, and of being. 
Through the shaking of the nations, through and 
over the oppositions of men, by the sweet breath 
of human love, by the harsh and strident gale 
of human wrath, is the ever-enlarging hope 
of the new humanity which is in and through 
Christ Jesus, being swept forward, and of rest, 
of harbor, of anchorage there is yet no sign. 
What are all these movements, these changes, 
this progress, but the self-manifestation of the 
Infinite, the birth into time, and human history of 


the purposes of His immutable and omnipotent 

Yet what is our earth ? A point in infinite 
space. What is time with its circling ages ? A 
point in infinite duration. All the wonders, all the 
changes, the multiplied, the progressive, the end- 
less movements of human history, what are these 
all but the outworking, the manifestation of the 
infinite purpose in a moment of eternity and in 
point of immensity ? Oh, the glories which must 
rise before the eye that can sweep the universe of 
space and duration ! Oh, the waves which before 
such a vision must lift themselves up and sweep 
across the mighty expanse ! Oh, the sublime, the 
awful gulf current which such observation must 
note, setting its course toward, cutting its way 
through the ages " unto that far-off divine event to 
which the whole creation moves " ! Oh, the over- 
whelming glory of the final end, forever unap- 
proached, forever unapproachable ! Oh, the glory 
of the ever-living God! " Thy judgments are a 
great deep." 

But the ocean is not only unceasing in its 
activity, but it is sublimely irresistible in the 
mightiness of its power. 

Even when the sea is placid, our minds instinc- 
tively clothe it with majestic and measureless 


force. In the low plash of the sunlit waves we 
hear disguised the same voice that boomed artil- 
lery-like through the night time of fear. We 
watch the ocean, even in its hours of play, with 
much the same feeling that we look upon the 
sporting of the wild beast, not knowing how soon 
its sport may give place to rage, and its harmless 
activity change to a superhuman destructiveness. 
But while the ocean always and everywhere im- 
presses the human mind with the idea of unlim- 
ited power, there are times and seasons in its life 
when its majestic force comes out in bolder form 
and thrills us with a more awesome wonder. 
When, for illustration, turning as some restless 
monster from one side to the other, he begins to 
push his mighty masses in upon the land, what 
power can oppose his progress or bid back his on- 
sweeping billows? Slowly and majestically turn 
his quickened depths toward the land; higher and 
higher rises each successive wave ; farther and 
still farther up upon the shore he throws his tidal 
fullness, and then, while we look, he reverses the 
motion of his liquid masses, and with an energy 
that none can hinder, and with a retreat that no 
power may cut off, rolls them back again into the 
hollow of the great deep. 

The storm is even a grander exhibition of 


the ocean's power than the tide. When the 
heavens grow black above his uneasy masses, and 
lurid lightning cuts this blackness into horrible 
gashes ; when the winds, as if let loose from the 
gates of hell, whip into foam the sweeping billows 
until one would think the deep were hoary; when 
there succeeds to the momentary calm, which is 
itself frightful, the first burst of the hurricane, and 
to that low moaning and indistinct muttering of 
mighty wrath, the thunder of the wild billows 
coming forth rank after rank from their garrison 
in the deep ; when these voices are all answered 
back by the angry voices of the sky ; when the 
deep below calls unto the deep above, then how 
puny seems the noblest conception of human 
power — how majestically terrible the aroused 
might of the great ocean ! 

With this sight before your eyes, turn unto that 
of which it is the symbol. 

" The voice of the Lord is upon the waters . . . 
which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of 
their waves, and the tumult of the people." 

The Divine purposes as they manifest them- 
selves in human history are not only irresistible, 
but they move on to their end through the use of 
the humblest instrumentalities, through agencies 
and influences which seem contemptible to hu- 


man eyes. This is the grandest conceivable 
exhibition of measureless force. When power 
can afford to be parsimonious of her resources; 
when she can accomplish her ends through the 
help of the most humble allies, then it is that she 
arrays herself in her most glorious apparel and 
lifts to her head her most resplendent crown. 
Of such exhibitions of power the history of 
our world is full. When their Divine Leader in 
the olden day would, for His chosen people, con- 
quer the menacing host of the Midianites, He 
sends against them, not the thirty thousand which 
were at His command, but three hundred only; 
He smites the giant of Gath with a pebble from a 
stripling's sling ; scatters an army by the flash of 
a lamp and the blare of a trumpet; revolutionizes 
the world by twelve fishermen ; reforms the 
church by a single-handed monk as against the 
power of pope and prince and emperor ; and 
through the centuries, by means' of the " foolish- 
ness of preaching," carries forward a work over 
which the celestial hierarchies bend in liveliest 
interest, and by which are shaped the fate of na- 
tions and the history of the world. Pictures these, 
all of them, of the ineffable ease with which the 
purposes of the Divine administration work unto 
their appointed end in the development of our 


race. Then even beyond this wondrous exhibition 
reaches the resplendent fullness of their matchless 
and measureless power. Not only do they em- 
ploy forces scorned of human judgment, but they 
make readiest use of the oppositions of men to 
accomplish their designs. 

Look back upon old Babel. " Unto consolida- 
tion, unto centralization, unto unity let it work, 
cried the voice of the human builders." He that 
sitteth in the heavens heard, and from His throne 
came forth this response unto the children of 
men : " The Divine purpose is to scatter men over 
the face of the earth, and your work will lend 
itself readily to this end." And what did history 
write down? Why, Babel, — that is, dispersion. 
So we read unto this day. 

Cast a glance into ancient Egypt. Political 
wisdom, the power of a despotic throne, declares 
the decree and every man-child of the Israelites 
is doomed. But the more the people were op- 
pressed, the more they multiplied and grew. Nay, 
more ! The very measure that was designed to 
render their slavery perpetual threw into the 
court of Pharaoh, there to be trained in all the 
wisdom of Egypt, the deliverer of the bondsmen. 
As though it were not enough for the Divine 
purpose to accomplish deliverance, it causes the 


taskmasters with their own hands to break the 
fetters they had forged, compels the house of 
Pharaoh to nourish and to educate a Moses. 
** He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh." 

Hear the echoes of this same laugh in the west- 
ern world and in our own day, where insatiate 
ambition of American slavery for extension and 
defense was turned into the great emancipation 
measure of the nineteenth century. But take the 
supreme illustration, and let it suffice for all. 
With wicked hands men seized and crucified 
heaven's well-beloved and earth's fairest Son. 
Yes ! but Pilate, with a hand that he might not 
stay, was obliged to reach forth and write the word 
" King " over the head of the dying Jesus ; Joseph's 
sepulcher gave up to the world an immortal name 
and an endless power ; and even the dumb cross, 
which had been unwittingly the agent of death, 
became a thing of life, the standard of an ever- 
increasing and invincible host. He who was cut 
off out of the land without issue and without 
generation, now counts His children by the thou- 
sands in every land that is visited by the sun. 
The Man of sorrows and of death has become the 
joy and the life of a world. ** Thy judgments, O 
God, are a great deep." 

A third characteristic of the great deep is the 


order that controls all its unceasing movements, 
that directs and tethers all the outreachings of its 
mighty power. This would not appear to the ob- 
server who should for the first time stand upon its 
shores. To such an one the rise and fall of its 
mighty waves, the incoming and the outgoing of 
its tidal masses would indicate no order and voice 
no law. But if such an observer should return 
day after day, and year after year, to look with 
reason's eye upon the liquid continent, he would 
surely be forced to the conclusion that underneath 
the apparent lawlessness that first impressed him 
there is some regulative force governing the seem- 
ingly capricious movements, and dictating both 
certainty and uniformity to all the manifestations 
of their mighty life. Such an one would be sure to 
hear, breaking forth from the vast and weltering 
plain before him, the words of this mysterious 
voice : " Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther : 
and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." As 
a matter of fact, men have stood now for centuries 
looking out from ocean's shore, and with what 
result ? The table of the tidal movements can 
now be written down years before their occur- 
rence ; the equatorial and polar currents can now 
be mapped, and the racing gulf streams, and the 
yearly tide- rises, and the mysterious undertows, 


these all can be charted for the guidance of the 
adventurous voyager. 

We who by the voice of the text to-day are 
invited unto ocean's beach to learn our lesson, 
are thus warranted in attributing a similar order 
to the judgments of the Almighty, to the purposes 
of the overruling Power, as these take hold of 
and manifest themselves in the affairs of our dis- 
ordered world. I know that the philosophy of 
history is yet but poorly understood and imper- 
fectly written. Historians stand upon the mighty 
beach of our world's life, and in the activity of its 
great forces see nothing but so much confused 
and aimless motion ; so much result and effect of 
human passion and human greed ; so much out- 
writing of the uncontrolled desires of human 
hearts and the ungoverned purposes of the human 
will. Hence and through all the centuries they 
have been lifting up this voice : " Where is the 
promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell 
asleep, all things continue as they were from the 
beginning of the creation." 

But this is only because these observers have 
not stood long enough upon the world-encircling 
beach, or long enough with eyes opened by the 
touch of the Divine Spirit, marked down the 
movements upon which they looked. This is 


because the eye which sees here is the one that 
opened in its httle cradle but yesterday ; because 
the human mind finite, and infantile, has here to 
do with the infinite, with the great immeasurable 
days of the Lord. So centuries ago, the astrono- 
mer, directing his gaze to yonder star, cried out, 
*' It does not move; the shining point is a fixed one 
in the mighty star field." But now, to-day, the 
astronomer directs his telescopic vision unto the 
same star, and this is the voice that we hear : 
"Ah, it has moved ! The glittering point was not a 
fixed diamond pinned upon the bosom of the 
night." The first observer was mistaken because 
he looked upon a sun the seconds of whose 
mighty orbit were so many of earth's centuries ; 
he drew a false conclusion because there was not 
time enough between his cradle and his grave for 
him to learn the stupendous truth. 

So are we bidden, by the analogy of the text, 
to believe it is with the gulf stream of the Divine 
purpose in the ocean of time. Through the ages 
one increasing purpose runs, and with unresting 
and invincible force is sweeping onward to the 
end of universal order and everlasting righteous- 
ness. That the Divine purpose in human history 
does more in this direction, that it has so moved, 
this year of our Lord nineteen hundred and 


three bears unmistakable and convincing witness. 
America is better than the republic whose ashes 
are strewn on the banks of the Tiber — better as 
Rome was better than the dynasties that rose and 
fell to the music of the Euphrates and the Tigris. 
The current of the overruling purpose has swept 
our world forward — forward unto a larger knowl- 
edge and a wider wisdom — forward unto a nobler 
freedom and a higher civilization — forward unto 
a larger type of the individual man and a grander 
form of the nation — forward unto a fuller under- 
standing and a more abounding enjoyment of the 
teaching and the promise of the Cross. 

No doubt there are isolated events, anomalous 
plans, great crises and centuries in our world's 
life which seem to be so many retrograde currents. 
So there are in the arctic region and upon 
the bosom of the current that is setting toward 
the equator, surface waves which flow toward 
the pole. There is upon the bosom of the in- 
coming tide a multitude of wavelets whose move- 
ment is away from the shore. Granted all this — 
yet shall the equator bathe itself in the waters 
that have poured from the northern sea and 
the continent receive upon its majestic front 
the far-resounding dash of the tidal wave. So, 
taught by the intuition of the soul and by the 


past progress of the human race, as well as by the 
declared analogy of the text, must we not say 
that the current of human history shall yet lift 
itself up into and break upon the front of the 
great white throne in the exulting joy of this 
millennial chorus : ** The kingdoms of this world 
are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His 
Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever." So 
shall order grow out of that which we now deem 
confusion, and so shall the judgments of the In- 
finite One — now a great and weltering maze before 
the eyes of men — stretch themselves out as a sea 
of glass, mirrored in which the universe shall 
read for evermore the grace and the glory, the 
wisdom and the power of Him who is the Creator 
of worlds, the Father of men, and the King of all 
our earth. 

Thus standing by invitation of the text upon the 
beach of the deep blue sea, have we learned the 
lesson given unto us, — unresting action, immeas- 
urable power, immutable order. And how won- 
derfully majestic and sublime is the creation of 
the Almighty that to-day lifts up before us these 
glorious attributes ! If you will open your eyes, 
you will see the ocean in uniform of blue and 
white flowing unto every shore ; if you will open 
your ears, you will catch the music of its perpetual 


thunder as it girdles the globe, and rises in mighty 
chorus to the skies. In its embrace the opposite 
poles of earth are in contact; great islands are 
only so many phosphorescent atoms quivering in 
its waters, and whole continents are but the jewels 
that it wears upon its broad bosom. 

But there is yet a mightier sea than earth's 
great ocean. It is the great deep of the Divine 
judgments, the great deep of the self-manifesta- 
tions of the Infinite. On its broad surface glit- 
tering constellations are the phosphorescent light, 
and uncounted systems of suns and of worlds, 
the jewels with which its raiment sparkles. Out 
yonder to Sirius, from which the swift-darting 
light comes wearily after the lapse of centuries — 
out yonder to the unresolved star dust of the 
Milky Way, where even imagination grows sick 
with its awful flight — unto those distant shores I 
can see the waters of this mighty deep flowing, 
and while I listen I can hear their echoes as in 
sublime doxology they rise to the Infinite Throne. 
A sea whose waters lave every shore within this 
boundless universe — this is the great deep of the 
Divine judgments. A sea of infinity pouring 
itself round immensity — this is the self-manifes- 
tation of the Infinite, this the propulsive energy 
and the controlling force of the Divine purpose. 


Upon this great deep you are embarked — a 
voyager whether you will or no. Is not this 
true ? Are you not so embarked ? By all the 
power that you possess can you abrogate your 
gift of life, or even reverse the motion of your 
being ? Have you any hand of choice or might 
to expunge or rewrite the decree which declares 
that you shall go forward whither you know 
not, try a course that you cannot map down ? 
Surely you are embarked as a voyager whether 
you will or no. 

What shall be your preparations, your out- 
fit, for this mysterious and adventurous voyage ? 
I can see the young man, resplendent in the 
glory that his tailor has loaned him, turning his 
feathery yacht, without compass or anchor, with- 
out strength of spar or width of beam, into the 
mighty billows and raging storms of the broad 
Atlantic. The sight is not a pleasant one. It is 
such a mockery of reality. It is such a travesty 
upon human wisdom and human strength. 

So I can see a human life swept forward over a 
deep that it cannot fathom, into storms that it can- 
not resist, unto a harbor that it cannot foresee, and 
all the while self-confident, self-complacent, ir- 
reverent, prayerless, not even serious. This also 
is a pitiful spectacle. It jars upon reason. It is 


SO out of keeping with the nature of things. It 
is such a pathetic and needless exposure of the 
weak and fearing spirit of a man. Against this 
sense-madness lovingly and earnestly I warn you 

The outfit which you, my fellow-man, need for 
your adventurous voyage is not the natty costume 
of any one of this world's fashions, but the old 
and simple garment of a reverent faith. That 
which is consonant with your being, and suited 
to your necessities beyond even the power of your 
imagination to perfect it, is the child-heart within 
you, taking hold of the Infinite Father above 
you, reaching out unto Him who is wise to direct, 
pitiful to succor, and almighty to save — director 
of currents — ruler of waves — master of storms. 

So equipped with this filial spirit, you will be 
able to pass through all dark days in calmness 
and with courage, and when the hour of storm 
and stress shall break, you will be prepared to 
sing your every fear to sleep with the sweet lullaby 
of this beautiful and blessed trust : — 

For, though from out our bourne of time and place 

The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to see my Pilot face to face 

"When I have crossed the bar.